Authorities in Madhya Pradesh’s Agar Malwa district on Tuesday razed the homes of persons accused of harming a cow earlier this week. The cow subsequently died from the injuries.

On Monday, four men, identified as Durga Shankar Gujjar, Rahul Gujjar, Razzaq Khan and Sonu Mansuri, allegedly assaulted a cow near the district’s Sangakhedi village. The cow had reportedly damaged their crops.

Satyendra Bairwa, the deputy collector of the district, told Scroll that a first information report was filed in the Barod police station under Section 429 (mischief by killing or maiming cattle) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. They have been arrested.

The alleged killing of the cow triggered widespread protests by Hindutva groups. The protestors had blocked a highway for more than four hours during their protest, Siasat reported. They demanded that the homes of the four persons be demolished.

A day later, the houses of at least three accused were partially demolished.

However, Bairwa claimed that the demolitions were in connection with a separate case of illegal construction and that the action was not linked to the first information report against them for alleged cruelty against the cow.

In recent years, there has been a growing trend of civic authorities in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states demolishing ostensibly illegal properties of those accused of crime. There are no provisions in Indian law that provide for demolishing property as a punitive measure.

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