The discovery of a decomposing calf’s head on a road triggered riots in Surat on Monday, PTI reported. Officials said police personnel had to resort to baton-charging and launching tear-gas shells on the crowd. A police officer was injured during the violence and around 20 Bajrang Dal activists have been detained for setting several butcher shops ablaze, IANS reported.

Patrolling in the area has been increased to prevent more violence. “A severed head of a calf was found on the road in Godadara locality today morning. The head appeared to be two days old,” Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma told PTI.

Some residents claimed that butchers in the neighbourhood had left the head there to hurt religious sentiments. Police, however, suspect that the head was dragged into the area from another site.

Gujarat’s Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja called for calm. “I appeal to the public not to pay attention to rumours and also not to indulge in activities that could affect peace in the area. People came out on the road because of the news and rumours, so police had to use teargas shells to disperse the crowd. Action will be taken against the anti-social elements,” Jadeja said.