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‘Children Crying in Heat, Haven’t Eaten for 2 Days’: Families displaced as houses demolished over ‘beef’ in Madhya Pradesh

“We have been on the road for the last two days. All the belongings are spread on the ground. Children are crying in pain due to the heat. At least 50 members of 11 families have come on the road, We haven’t eaten anything for the last 2 days,” said Shumaila Qureshi (changed name) in a tearful voice.

Shumaila is a member of one of the 11 families whose houses were demolished by the administration in Madhya Pradesh. The administration said it demolished the houses of 11 Muslims after meat was found in their house in Bhainswahi Village of Mandla district

It is being claimed that beef was recovered from the refrigerator of the accused. However, this cannot be confirmed at present. The sample has been sent to a lab in Hyderabad for testing.

Superintendent of Police Rajat Saklecha said the local government veterinarian has confirmed that the seized meat is beef. “We have also sent the samples to Hyderabad for DNA analysis,” he said.

He said that the houses of 11 accused were demolished because they were on government land.

One of these 11 families told The Observer Post that they have been living here for the last 50 years. They were never told that this place was government property.

“We have been paying the electricity and water bills on time,” the family members said.

SP Rajat Saklecha said an FIR was registered on Friday night after the recovery of cows and beef. With this, one accused has been arrested, while the search for the other 10 is going on. Rajat Saklecha told the media that this action was taken after receiving secret information that a large number of cows had been brought for slaughter in the Bhaisawahi area of Nainpur.

Saklecha claimed that a police team reached there and found 150 cows tied behind the hideout of the accused. Beef was recovered from refrigerators in the homes of all the 11 accused. Fat, skin and bones of animals were also found, which were kept in a room. However, questions are now being raised regarding this incident as to why the houses of the accused were demolished without trial.

Supreme Court advocate and social activist of the area Govind Yadav said, “I believe they have committed a crime, but punishing their family for their crime is not right.”

Govind Yadav further stated, “Article 20(2) of the Indian Constitution provides protection against double jeopardy. The law provides that no person may be prosecuted and punished for the same crime more than once. This provision ensures that a person cannot be tried and punished twice for the same crime.”

“Even if these people have committed cow slaughter, the court will punish them accordingly, but how can you punish them twice for the same crime by demolishing their house?”

Govind Yadav

“We are considering this matter, and we will take this case to the Supreme Court because this is a violation of fundamental rights,” Yadav added.

In February 2024, the Madhya Pradesh High Court ruled in favour of two petitioners: one whose house had already been demolished and another whose house was on the verge of being demolished by the Ujjain Municipal Corporation.

High Court also said, “It has become fashionable now for local administration and local bodies to demolish any house by drawing up proceedings without complying with the Principal of Natural Justice and publish it in the newspaper.”

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