A 24-year-old man was beaten to death in Thanamandi area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Tuesday while returning home with a buffalo he had bought, The Indian Express reported.

Speaking to Scroll.in, family members of the victim, Aijaz Dar, said he was killed by cow vigilantes.

Police have registered a case in the matter and identified four accused, but all of them are still absconding, according to The Indian Express. The police have not yet confirmed if the incident was a case of cow vigilantism.

However, locals staged a protest on Tuesday outside the office of Rajouri deputy commissioner, alleging cow vigilantes attacked Dar and two others when they were returning home after buying a buffalo from Laam near Nowshera sector. They said the accused attacked the three men with stones and sticks at Muradpur, near Rajouri town.

The three men were taken to Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu, where Dar succumbed to his injuries, The Indian Express reported. The other two are in stable condition.

“These kinds of incidents have taken place in the past as well but this is the first time someone has been lynched for carrying a buffalo,” Guftar Choudhary, a social activist from Rajouri, told Scroll.in.

The locals demanded that the accused be arrested and charged with the Public Safety Act. Deputy Inspector General of Police Vivek Gupta and other senior officers assured the locals of action against the accused persons.