The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the acts of cow vigilante groups across the country. The court asked Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jharkhand and the Centre to reply to a series of public interest litigations filed against the practice, which has recently been on the rise.

The petitions said that cow vigilantism was spreading hate against Dalits and other minority groups in the country, and sought the apex court’s intervention. One of the PILs in the matter was filed by Congress leader Tehseen S Poonawalla, The Indian Express reported.

On August 6, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had condemned cow vigilante groups, and said "opportunistic people are trying to poison social harmony in the name of cow protection". On Tuesday, he again said violence against Dalits should not still exist in the country 70 years after Independence.

Incidents of violence against Dalits have caused outrage through Modi’s tenure as prime minister. Dalits have been agitating for months in his home state of Gujarat after four tanners from Una district were beaten up for skinning a dead cow in July.