A top Indian politician has defended the killing of a Muslim man who was attacked by a mob of angry Hindus for transporting cattle, saying “he was partly to blame”.

Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria defended the “cow vigilantes” who attacked 15 Muslim men while they were moving the cows, which are sacred to Hindus.

“One person died due to the beating. Police have registered cases against people smuggling the cows and also over the death of the man,” he said.

Pehlu Khan, a fifty-year-old man, died two days after the deadly attack, after receiving multiple rib fractures due to the beating.

“The blame lies with both sides. When they know that cow smuggling is banned in Rajasthan and there is a law against it, why were they doing it?” the home minister said.

“However, taking law in one's hand is wrong. Police will act against both sides,” he added.

The police arrested the “attacked men” for “smuggling” even while they showed documents to prove that they had bought the cows legally from a livestock fair in Jaipur.

In similar incidents in the past two years, at least ten Muslim men are believed to have been killed by cow vigilantes on suspicion of cow smuggling or “eating beef”.