Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke out Saturday against radical Hindus carrying out violent attacks on people suspected of slaughtering cows.
India's Hindu majority regard the cow as holy, and their slaughter is banned in several regions.
In recent months, right-wing fringe groups have led campaigns and vigilante activities, targeting Muslims and low-caste Dalits over alleged cattle slaughter and beef consumption.
At a town hall meeting in New Delhi, Modi said state agencies need to act against the self-styled activists, who are actually criminal elements.
‘I get so angry at some people who have opened shops in the name of Gau Raksha (Cow Protection in Hindi). They are into anti-social activities at night but wear the garb of cow protectors during the day,’ he said.
‘I request state governments to prepare a dossier of such self-styled cow protectors. Seventy to 80 per cent of them will turn out to be anti-social elements who do this to mask their bad deeds,’ he added.
This was the strongest condemnation by Modi yet on incidents of cow vigilantism for which his government has come under attack.
In July, four men from the Dalit community were beaten in Modi's home state of Gujarat for skinning a dead cow. In the same month, two Muslim women were assaulted on suspicion they were carrying beef.
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