In Modi’s India, Cows are Better Protected than Minorities

S
ince the Indian Prime Minister came to power in 2014, the Hindu nationalists are lynchings Muslims in the name of protecting "holy cows".  The last two victims of militia "gau rakshak" (protectors of the cow) were killed in Nagaon in Assam on 30 April.

Twenty years old, they were suspected of smuggling cows. Lynched by "Gau Rakshaks",  they died in hospital as a result of their wounds. Just yesterday, four Muslims youth were attacked in train by a mob of 20 Hindu men in train after being accused of “carrying beef” . One boy died in the hospital, others severely injured. They were returning home after shopping for the Eid – the celebrations after the end of Muslim’s holiest month.

The attacks of " gau rakshak " that patrol the states of northern India , have multiplied over the last three years. Hindu extremist militia tracks anyone suspected of eating beef or cow trafficking & lynch him. Very often police stands helpless & doesn't dare arrest the murderers even after being identified.

Bullying perpetrated in the name of the protection of these animals, considered sacred by the Hindus. Some of the victims of these punitive expeditions on ethnic bases escaped death, but more than ten Muslims did not survive these attacks.

This kind of practice could happen before but the arrival of the Hindu nationalist party BJP & Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of country in 2014 gave a feeling of "Impunity for these extremists. "

Muslims are not the only obsessions of Hindu Nationalists.   In July 2016, in the State of Gujarat , a dalit family of seven was lynched in public for skinning cow. In protest,  Dalit community refused to clear cow carcasses from the streets. In the very same month, four Dalit youth were brutally beaten up for allegedly possessing beef.  In September last year, a pregnant Dalit woman was dragged in streets & beaten up for refusing to clear carcass of a dead cow.

On papers, India is a secular state with 80% Hindu population. Millions of Muslims, Christians minorities as well as Dalits eat cow meet - an animal that is considered sacred by some interpretations of Hinduism , although this idea is contested by many Hindu researchers who believe Hindu ancestors did eat cow meet. These attacks by Hindu militias are threatening the economic progress in India. Afraid of attacks by Hindu militias, many slaughterhouses have been closes, leaving thousands unemployed.

The cow slaughter is now officially banned in 21 out of 29 states in India. In Gujarat (a state run by Prime Minister Modi from 2001 to 2014), cow slaughter is now punishable with life in jail. On Wednesday, a judge of the High Court of neighboring Rajasthan suggested doing the same. Legislation for same is steadily being pushed in many others states where Prime Minister Modi's nationalist BJP won the state elections held recently including India's biggest state UP. After a landslide victory in UP, Modi chose a hardliner Hindu cleric Yogi Adityanath as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Yogi is firebrand icon of Hindutuwa who is known for  controversial remarks including accusing India's Muslim  film superstar Shahrukh Khan of terror sympathizer , asking Muslims to leave India if they refuse to practice Yoga, accusing  Mother Teresa of being a Christian Missionary  & asking his men to "Rape Dead Muslim Women" .

On 26 May, Modi Govt. declared a federal ban on selling livestock (cows, buffaloes, oxen, camels, etc.) for slaughter. Government says this law is enforced to stop animal but critics refute the claims saying it's a pledge given by Modi to Hindu Right Wings & one step closer to create a Hindu Rashtra (a religious state based on hardliner concepts of Hinduism). Making India a "Hindu Rashtra" is a long term desire of RSS - the parent organization of Prime Minister Modi's BJP party. Modi himself served in RSS as volunteer before he was promoted to BJP. Though Modi himself remains silent on the activities of 'Hindu fringe elements' critics say that this is being done with a node from the Modi himself whose own reputation remains tainted for his role during the anti-Muslim pogroms in Gujarat that killed more than 2,000 Muslims when he was the Chief Minister of the state in 2002. Modi failure to stop ethnic cleansing of Muslims led to a de facto travel ban on him by UK, USA & many other EU states, though it was lifted later in 2013 when he rose to nationwide prominence as BJP's PM candidate for 2014 General Elections in India.

"Extreme measures taken for the protection of cows takes place in a context of intensification of Hindu chauvinism. For the partisans of Hindutva, an ideology that makes Hinduism a political doctrine, India is considered pure only if it is purged of its minorities," - says Charlotte Thomas - professor of political science at Paris Institute of Political Studies & head of South Asia Program.

The latest decisions of the Modi government, however, are being resisted in states where the BJP is not all powerful, especially those in southern India, where Hindu Nationalism is absent. "We will not accept this decision imposed from the center. It is unconstitutional," said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. "Kerala has no lessons to learn about its food customs from Delhi or Nagpur (headquarters of the RSS)," said Pinarayi Vijayan , chief minister of southern state Kerala. There is also a strong resistance in journalistic fraternity against this trend.

 

As “Muslim Lynching” becomes the new normal in India, over 200M Muslims in India live under constant threat of genocide.

Sohail Khan

Sohail Khan is an independent journalist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. He writes on defense & regional security. He can be reached on twitter at @SoheilKhanzada on his website

ABOUT MD

Modern Diplomacy is an invaluable platform for assessing and evaluating complex international issues that are often outside the boundaries of mainstream Western media and academia. We provide impartial and unbiased qualitative analysis in the form of political commentary, policy inquiry, in-depth interviews, special reports, and commissioned research.

 

MD Newsletter

 

 

RSS Feeds from MD

Regions
Topics
NewsRoom

Top