A court in Jharkhand on Wednesday convicted eight persons for their involvement in the lynching of two people in the state’s Latehar district in March 2016, PTI reported. The court of First Class Judicial Magistrate Rishikesh Kumar in Latehar found all the eight accused guilty and is likely to pronounce the quantum of sentence on Friday.

Those convicted were identified as Manoj Sahu, Awadhesh Sao, Pramod Sao, Mithilesh Sao alias Banti, Vishal Tiwary, Manoj Kumar Sao, Sahadev Soni and Arun Sao. While five of the accused were arrested within 24 hours of the crime, three of the absconding accused had later surrendered before a local court and were released on bail.

On March 17, 2016, cow vigilantes had abducted cattle trader Majloom Ansari and schoolboy Imtiaz Khan while they were on their way to a cattle fair in a neighbouring district. They then lynched the two and hanged them from a tree.

Human rights bodies earlier this year had demanded the arrest of a state Bharatiya Janata Party leader for his involvement in the lynching. The groups carried out an independent investigation and demanded that the Jharkhand government challenge the bail granted to the accused as well as take action against the police officers responsible for “sabotaging” the inquiry into the case.

Jharkhand had witnessed a spate of lynchings last year. While a man was beaten to death in Ramgarh district in June 2017 on suspicion of carrying beef, more than a 100 people had attacked a Muslim dairy farmer in Giridh district suspecting that he had slaughtered a cow.

In June this year, a mob in the state’s Godda district had allegedly lynched two men on the suspicion of stealing cattle.