A member of the World Hindu Council holds a weapon during a protest in Jammu, India. (CNS photo/Jaipal Singh, EPA)

NEW DELHI (CNS) — An Indian bishop criticized a call by a radical Hindu group for the execution of people who slaughter cattle or transport beef.

Bishop Vincent Barwa, who chairs the bishops’ office for ethnic minorities and lower-caste people, said the demand by the World Hindu Council sought to create violence and religious divisions, reported ucanews.com.

The bishop spoke to ucanews.com following media reports that the World Hindu Council had resolved to press for a national law against cow slaughter, stipulating death sentences for violators.

Bishop Barwa said demands for capital punishment for cow slaughter targeted Christians, Muslims, Dalits and indigenous groups who had no religious prohibition on the eating of beef.

Orthodox Hindus revere cattle. Laws restricting the slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks exist in 20 of India’s 29 states.

Since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party came to power nationally in 2014, India has witnessed more than 20 mob lynchings connected with what is generally referred to as “cow slaughter.”

The media have widely reported orchestrated attacks on Muslims and Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, by so-called cow vigilantes.