A youth was beaten by a group of gau rakshaks, or self-proclaimed cow vigilantes, in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district on Saturday for allegedly having cut a cow’s tail, PTI reported. A video showing the men hitting the youth with their belts and kicking him has been doing the rounds. It also shows a sizeable crowd watching the incident without protest, while the victim pleaded for relief.

However, the officer in charge of Jiwajiganj Police Station, OP Mishra, said the victim Apuda Malviya, had had a financial dispute with the men who beat him up. A case has been registered against the attackers, he added.

The accused, identified as Chetan Sankhla, Vikas alias Bhura, Nilesh Sankhla and Shubham, have been booked for criminal intimidation and voluntarily causing hurt. Two of the accused, Sankhla and Vikas, were arrested on Saturday. The others are absconding.

Several such incidents of cow vigilantism have been reported this year. A man was assaulted by an angry mob for allegedly skinning a buffalo in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday. Last month, two such incidents were widely reported. In one, a dairy farmer from Haryana, Pehlu Khan, was lynched in Rajasthan’s Alwar on the suspicion of transporting cattle. In the second, a group of cattle transporters were beaten up in South Delhi’s Kalkaji area on the suspicion of transporting the animals for slaughter.