Thirteen persons have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the lynching of two youths on suspicion of cattle smuggling in West Bengal's Cooch Behar district, a senior police officer said on Friday.
"We have arrested 13 persons so far. We are conducting raids to arrest the other culprits," Cooch Behar police superintendent Santosh Nimbalkar told IANS over phone.
The incident occurred early on Thursday in Ketarhat of Putimary-Phuleshwari Gram Panchayat area under Cooch Behar 1 administrative block.
The two victims - Prakash Das (35) and Rabiul Islam (40) - were caught by the locals while they were passing through the area in a pick-up van.
Eyewitnesses claimed the mob got enraged when they saw the vehicle did not have a number plate and found a cow being carried in it. The locals started grilling the duo and after a while, they started beatings them.
The mob released the cow in a nearby field.
"The mob then torched the van. Both the victims had earlier been arrested on the charge of cattle smuggling. While Prakash was a resident of Mathabhanga, Rabiul hailed from Dinhata in the district," said Mr Nimbalkar.
Personnel from the Kotwali police station reached the spot after some time and took the youth to Cooch Behar Medical College Hospital where they later died.
Eyewitnesses said rumours of cattle smugglers moving in the area were floating for the past few days.