A 35-year-old Muslim was killed and two of his associates were assaulted allegedly by cow vigilantes on suspicion of cattle theft in Karnataka’s Ramnagara district on Saturday, The Hindu reported.

The deceased was identified as Idrees Pasha, a resident of the state’s Mandya district. His associates were identified as Irfan and Syed Zaheer.

The police said they have booked five persons, including cow vigilante Puneeth Kerehalli, on charges of murder, assault, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint and an intentional insult to provoke a breach of peace.

Based on a complaint by Kerehalli, the police also booked Zaheer and his associates under the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, Transportation of Animals Act, and Motor Vehicles Act, The Indian Express reported.

Kerehalli runs an organisation named the Rashtra Rakshana Pade’ (Nation Protection Army). In the past, he has organised campaigns against halal meat and for banning Muslim traders from Hindu temple fairs.

Saturday’s incident took place in Sathanur town when Kerehalli and his aides had stopped Pasha’s vehicle in which he was transporting cattle and accused him as well his associates of theft. Kerehalli and others asked them to go to Pakistan, reported The Indian Express.

An unidentified police official told the newspaper that Pasha and his associates were assaulted despite them producing documents to show that the cattle had been brought from a local market. The accused persons had allegedly demanded Rs 2 lakh to let them go off, according to The Hindu.

However, Pasha and Irfan objected and were then chased and beaten up, while Zaheer and Kerehalli were brought to a police station after a constable intervened. Pasha was later found dead by the police.

“While I was at the police station on Saturday morning, the police showed me a photo of Pasha and asked whether I knew him. I told them he was my colleague and was in the same lorry when the incident took place,” Zaheer told The Indian Express. “They told me he was dead. I thought they had escaped.”

Following the incident, tension prevailed near the Sathanur Police Station as Pasha’s family members staged a protest and demanded action against the cow vigilantes, reported The Indian Express.