15 houses in two Madhya Pradesh districts demolished over allegations of cow slaughter, illegal beef trade

Around 11 houses were razed down in the tribal-dominated Mandla district and five more in the communally sensitive Ratlam district over allegations of cow slaughter and illegal beef trade.
A house is being bulldozed in the Bhainwahi village of Mandla district over allegations of illegal beef trade.
A house is being bulldozed in the Bhainwahi village of Mandla district over allegations of illegal beef trade.Photo | Express

Bhopal: Authorities in Madhya Pradesh demolished the houses of 15 people allegedly built on government land, claiming it was part of a crackdown on cow slaughter and the illegal beef trade in the state.

The crackdown occurred over the past two days in two districts of Madhya Pradesh—11 houses were razed down in the tribal-dominated Mandla district in the east, bordering Chhattisgarh, and five in the communally sensitive Ratlam district in the west, neighbouring Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The crackdown comes ahead of the Eid-Ul-Adha (festival of sacrifice) on Sunday and Monday. Five Muslim men from both districts have been arrested in connection with the case and 10 other individuals are on the run. The local administration also demolished what it claimed to be the "illegally built" houses of the 15 accused.

The first of the two major crackdowns took place in the Bhainswahi village of Mandla district on Saturday. The village is home to around 25 minority community families and is linked to alleged incidents of cow slaughter over the past four years.

Acting on this information and a tip-off that a large number of cows had been held captive for slaughter, police forces raided the village. However, most families had fled the village by the time the raid took place.

One man, identified as Wahid Qureshi, originally from Damoh district of the Bundelkhand region, was detained and questioned. Following his interrogation, officials reportedly seized beef from the refrigerator in his house. Subsequent checks of other houses revealed more refrigerators containing beef, as well as substantial quantities of cooked beef biryani.

Additionally, the remains of cattle, including hides, fat, skin, and bones, were discovered in many houses, including underground spaces. Sharp-edged, large knives suspected to have been used for slaughtering cows were also seized.

“Around 150 cattle, including young calves, were found tied to the backyards of the houses, possibly for slaughter ahead of the coming festival. Pick-up vehicles bearing registration numbers from the adjoining Balaghat district have also been seized. The raid led the teams to around 100 kg of beef. The local government’s veterinary specialists have confirmed the seized meat to be beef, and we are also sending samples of the seized meat for further scientific analysis to Hyderabad,” Mandla district police superintendent Rajat Sakhlecha told TNIE on Sunday.

Continuing their actions in the case, the local administration demolished 11 houses belonging to both the arrested man and the absconding individuals. These houses were allegedly built illegally on government land.

Police officials rescue cattle from Bhainwahi village in Mandla district.
Police officials rescue cattle from Bhainwahi village in Mandla district.Photo | Express

“We’re now working on figuring out the forward and backward linkages of this illegal business. Primary investigations till now have pointed towards possible market linkage of the trade with neighbouring Jabalpur and other adjoining areas, but digging deeper into the case,” he said.

Cow slaughter is punishable in Madhya Pradesh, carrying a jail term of seven years, Sakhlecha added.

Meanwhile, nearly 700 km away from Mandla, in Jaora town of western MP's Ratlam district, the local administration demolished houses that it claimed were "illegally built" by four Muslim men in the last two days.

The four men were arrested in connection with an alleged incident involving the throwing of a severed calf's head inside the premises of a Shiva Temple in Jaora town during the wee hours of Friday. This incident sparked massive protests in the town by right-wing Hindu outfits.

The arrested men have been identified as Shakir Qureshi, Salman Mev, Naushad Qureshi, and Shahrukh. Confirming the arrests and the demolition of their "illegally built" houses located in the same area, Deputy Inspector General (Ratlam Range) Manoj Kumar Singh said, "Action has also been initiated against the four men under the National Security Act."

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