The Supreme Court on Monday asked the police in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district to protect witnesses in the Hapur lynching case and submit a report on the matter, ANI reported.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, asking it to respond to a plea filed by one of the men who was attacked, Bar & Bench reported. The petitioner moved the top court on August 6, seeking protection and a court-monitored inquiry by a special investigation team.

The court will hear the case again on August 28.

The court agreed to a urgent hearing of the petition after an accused in the case, Rakesh Sisodia, bragged about the crime to a team of NDTV reporters, reported Live Law. The team had posed as researchers conducting field work on Hindutva outfits.

“I wasn’t scared to go to jail,” Sisodia told NDTV. “I caught the attention of the jailer, who asked me what my case was. I said Section 302 and 307 [of the Indian Penal Code], full and half murder, they slaughtered cows, I killed them.” However, in a written statement to the court, he has denied any role in the attack and claimed he was not present at the spot.

Sisodia was arrested after a mob lynched 45-year-old meat trader Qasim in Hapur district on June 18. Residents said rumours of cow slaughter caused the lynching but the police have dismissed the claim.