A Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Jharkhand has said he will pay for the legal expenses of the four men accused of lynching two persons on suspicion of cattle theft in Godda district on Wednesday, reported NDTV.

Nishikant Dubey, who represents the Godda constituency in Parliament, called it a “personal decision” since he believes the four men are being unfairly targeted. “The entire village was involved in the beating,” he told NDTV. “Why are these four people being singled out just because their cattle was stolen?”

According to police, a group of five people stole 12 buffaloes from Dullu village and were pursued by the villagers. While three of them managed to escape, Murtaza Ansari and Charku Ansari were caught by the mob. Villagers claimed they found the missing buffaloes in the possession of the two men and beat them to death.

Police have registered two First Information Reports. One regarding cattle theft on a complaint by one of the suspects, Munsi Murmu, and the other on a complaint by Imran Ansari, the father of one of the lynched men, NDTV quoted Superintendent of Police Rajiv Ranjan as saying. The others arrested in the case are Kameshwar Soren, Kishan Rai and Bhukul Kishku.

Ranjan told The Times of India that there have been cattle theft cases against the victims in the past too.

Godda MLA Pradeep Yadav of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha said there was resentment among villagers about cattle theft. “I am collecting reports about the incident,” he said, according to the newspaper.

The incident comes a week after the lynching of two men in Assam’s Karbi Anglong on June 8 over rumours of kidnapping.