The Madhya Pradesh Police on Friday arrested two persons and the local administration razed “illegal” portions of their houses after they allegedly left the “body parts of a bovine animal” on the premises of a local temple at Jaora town in Ratlam district, The Indian Express reported.

One police officer claimed that the animal parts were cow meat, according to the newspaper.

The police said that the two men, identified as 24-year-old Salman Mevati and 19-year-old Shaqir Qureshi, were arrested for “hurting religious sentiments”.

At 3 am on Friday, a priest at the local temple, Gaurav Puri Goswami, reportedly first noticed the animal parts and informed the police. Deputy Inspector-General Manoj Kumar Singh said that “two bike-borne miscreants threw body parts of a bovine animal on the temple premises”.

Subsequently, the police traced and arrested Mevati and Qureshi under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, Singh said.

The incident allegedly took place on June 14 at 2.41 am, Ratlam Superintendent of Police Rakesh Khaka said.

“Two bike-borne men threw cow meat inside the temple premises,” Khaka told The Indian Express. “A case of inciting religious sentiments has been registered in the matter. If any other accused is involved in this, they will also be arrested.”

Area residents came out in groups to protest the incident, The Indian Express reported.

Singh claimed that attempts had been made to disrupt the peace in the town. “But timely measures prevented the situation from flaring up,” he said.

The incident prompted Chief Minister Mohan Yadav to make a public appeal for peace. He directed the police and the local administration to take strict action against those responsible for the incident.

Hafeez Bhuru, a local qazi – an Islamic judge or interpreter of sharia law – called on residents to “not make any objectionable statements on social media”.

“The Muslim community strongly condemns the disgusting incident that took place in Jaora temple last night and requests the government administration that the culprit, irrespective of his religion, should not be spared and should be dealt with in the strictest possible manner,” Bhuru said.

Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Jitu Patwari condemned the incident.

“I demand a quick and thorough investigation of this extremely objectionable act,” Patwari said. “I also appeal to the state government to give harsh punishment to the culprits, who spread animosity in the society.”