DIG (Santal Paragana) Akhilesh Kumar Jha said five people had allegedly stolen buffaloes from the house of Munshi Murmu and others in tribal-dominated Dullu village last night.
Finding the buffaloes missing, Murmu and other villagers gave a chase to the five people, who were caught in adjoining Bankati village with the cattle in the early hours today.
The enraged villagers thrashed Sirabuddin Ansari (35) and Murtaza Ansari (30) to death. The three others managed to flee, Jha said.
Four persons, including Murmu, have been arrested in this connection so far.
The victims were residents of Taljhari in the district, about 200 km from Ranchi, Superintendent of Police Rajeev Ranjan Singh said.
An adequate police force, along with a magistrate, had been deployed in the village to maintain law and order, Jha said.
The situation in the village was under control, the officer said.
The SP, who rushed to the spot, said according to the villagers, the five people had stolen 13 buffaloes last night.
On finding their cattle missing, the villagers launched a search. The residents of Bankati, who were also alerted, caught the two accused.
After lynching the duo, the accused villagers brought the bodies back to Dullu village on bi-cycles, the SP said.
Singh, who is camping in the village, said the stolen cattle had been recovered.
A theft case was registered based on a complaint by the villagers. Four persons, including Murmu, were booked under relevant IPC sections pertaining to murder and riot, he said.
All the four villagers have been arrested.
The incident was a simple case of theft, Singh said.
In March last year, a Jharkhand court had convicted a local BJP worker and 10 others for lynching a Muslim trader in June 2017. The convicts had beaten a 55-year-old man to death in Ramgarh district on suspicion of carrying beef in his van.