Eleven homes were demolished by authorities in Madhya Pradesh’s tribal-majority Mandla district on Saturday after police claimed to have found beef, animal hides and the skeletal remains of cattle there, reported PTI.

The incident took place in the district’s Bhainswahi village on Saturday.

“A team was rushed there and we found 150 cows tied in the backyards of the accused,” Mandla Superintendent of Police Rajat Saklecha told PTI. “Cow meat was recovered from the refrigerators in the homes of all the 11 accused. We also found animal fat, cattle skin and bones, which were stuffed in a room.”

He added that a local government veterinarian confirmed that the seized meat was beef.

“We have also sent samples to Hyderabad for secondary DNA analysis,” he said. “The houses of the 11 accused were demolished as they were on government land.”

While there are no provisions in law that provide for demolishing property as a punitive measure, this has been a growing trend in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states.

In the Bhainswahi case, the police claimed that they took the action because the homes were illegally built on 15,000 square feet of government land, reported The Indian Express.

The superintendent of police said that local revenue teams had sent notices pertaining to the alleged illegal encroachments to those whose homes were demolished.

“The accused had ample opportunity to respond,” he said. “When this case came to light, local authorities moved swiftly against the accused and demolished illegal portions in 11 homes.”

A first information report was also registered against 11 persons under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Cow Slaughter Prohibition Act, reported The Indian Express.

They are accused of buying cattle from the local tribal community at animal markets and trying to sell them to local markets in Mandla and Jabalpur, Nainpur Station House Officer Inder Baldev told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav said that the “heinous act of cruelty on cows cannot be tolerated at any cost”, reported The Indian Express.

“Police took action in Bhainswahi village of Mandla district and saved about 150 cows,” the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said. “Eleven FIRs have been registered against the accused. Eleven houses and six godowns of these 11 encroachers were freed from encroachment and encroachment was removed from a total area of 12,728 square feet.”

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