Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday condemned the violence perpetrated by cow-protection vigilante groups, most recently in Alwar district of Rajasthan, but called for a national law prohibiting cow slaughter, The Indian Express reported. Attending an event to observe Mahavir Jayanti in New Delhi, Bhagwat said, “Any violence in the name of cow slaughter defames the cause”, but added, “We want a law banning cow slaughter across the country.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria, who had earlier put out a statement that seemed to excuse those who beat up 55-year-old Pehlu Khan in Alwar for allegedly trafficking cows, on Sunday said that anyone who broke the law would be punished.

Pehlu Khan had been returning home to Jaisinghpur village in Nuh tehsil of Haryana’s Mewat on April 1, after having bought a milch cow from Jaipur the previous day, when a vigilante group, affiliated to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal, attacked him with sticks and belts. Khan died two days later.