A mob on Friday beat to death three men suspected of trying to steal cattle in Bihar, police said, the latest in a spate of attacks that have provoked alarm among religious minorities.
In recent years angry mobs have lynched many people from marginalised groups, especially Muslims and the Dalits, often over suspicions of cow slaughter.
The deceased have been identified as Raju Nat, Bides Nat and Naushad Qureshi, Superintendent of Police Har Kishore Rai said.
He said two of the deceased were beaten to death at the village, while another succumbed to injuries when he was being taken to a hospital by family members.
All the deceased belonged to Paigambarpur village, Rai said, adding the bodies were sent for post mortem.
The three men were caught by some villagers early on Friday while trying to load cattle on a pickup truck, police official Har Kishore Rai said.
"They were trying to load a buffalo and a calf when some villagers woke up and took the three into their custody and beat them up," he said, adding that the men had died.
Police have arrested three people from the village of Pithauri and have filed a case of murder against four more from the village, administrative official Lokesh Mishra told Reuters.
Police have filed a case of theft against the three men, and the villagers face a separate case of murder filed by the victims' families, naming three accused people, although more names are likely to be added, Mishra said.
Activists have tracked a rise in the number of mob lynchings in the last five years that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has been in power. Critics accuse it of not having done enough to rein in such violence.
The Supreme Court last year recommended making mob lynching a separate offence. In July, opposition parties in Bihar demanded a separate law against mob lynching in the state, where they say the problem is growing.