The heads of three men were tonsured and they were assaulted before being handed over to the police for allegedly killing a calf in Mehtada village under Jobat police station in Alirajpur district on Thursday.
Imran, Indu Bhuria and Mangu Bhuria, all in their 20s, were caught by police on a complaint from a person named Nihal Bhuria, who alleged that a calf owned by him was killed by the accused after they stole it from a nearby jungle.
The complainant alleged that the calf, part of a herd grazing in the jungle, did not return and that he found pieces of meat with the accused.
Angry villagers thrashed the accused before handing them over to the police. Investigating Officer Anand Kumar told The Indian Express that there was some tension in the village when the trio was taken to the police station. He said that no cross-complaint has been filed.
He said the accused, who were sent to jail on Friday, said that they had killed the calf for its meat. He said the three were subjected to a medical examination but injuries were not serious. He said local government veterinary doctors confirmed that it was cow meat.
An offence under Section 379 of the IPC and Sections 4, 5 and 9 of the Madhya Pradesh Prohibition of Cow Slaughter Act has been registered.