Relatives of the mob lynching victims speak to a police officer as they mourn outside a hospital in Chapra in Bihar [Reuters]

A mob in an Indian village has beaten to death three men suspected of trying to steal cattle, the latest in a spate of attacks that have provoked alarm among the country’s religious minorities.

The three men were caught by some villagers in Saran district’s Pithauri village in the eastern state of Bihar early on Friday while trying to load cattle on a pick-up truck, police official Har Kishore Rai told Reuters news agency.

“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,” Rai

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