The Cow Protector Controversy
Tensions between Hindus and others faiths are stirring up flames in India. Specifically, a higher caste Hindus have begun a campaign of violence against Muslims and Dalits they perceive as violating important taboos regarding the treatment of cows. Cows have long been regarded as a sacred animal in the Hindu religion and this has led to much controversy over perceived slights against those who are believed to violators. The controversy is even leading to violence by certain vigilante groups.
Persecution Of Minority Faiths
The persecution of Muslims and Dalits isn’t anything new in India. It goes back centuries to win the upper castes of Hinduism first decided they wanted to exclude foreign religions from participation in Hindu society. However, more recent controversies have led to actual cases of Hindus attacking and even killing members of other faiths. Since May 2015 India has seen a wave of anti-Muslim violence that has led to the deaths of 10 Muslims including a child. These self appointed cow protectors often act on the mere suspicion that the victims they choose have attempted to harm cows and rarely seek out actual evidence.
The Response To The Violence
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has actually called for the protection of cows himself during his time as governor of Gujarat state. He has claimed that previous governments have allowed cows to fall victim to violence and made them subject to exportation as meat. The Bharatiya Janata Party has been seen as a covert supporter of sentiment against Muslims and lower caste individuals. As they have risen in India and brought right wing politics with them, there have been many who see these movements are problematic. Despite these controversies The BJP remains strong on its stance of cow protection as a component of Hindu nationalism.
The most significant problems regarding human rights in India are caused by security forces and police. These include rape, torture and murder. The United States Government states the governments showing a lack of accountability for these actions.
A report showed the corruption is also responsible for an ineffective response to crimes committed against children, women, religions, castes and tribal affiliations. Other problems include arbitrary arrests, hazardous conditions in prisons and disappearances.
The report documented terrorism has claimed the lives of 324 insurgents or terrorists, 114 security personnel and 145 civilians on the last year. More than 90 individuals were killed during extremely violent protests in Kashmir and Jammu after Hizb-ul-Mujahideen was killed. The Indian police were responsible for the deaths of 104 individuals who were alleged insurgents or criminals.
The report of the United States state department reported the indiscriminate use of shotguns in Kashmir and Jammu resulted in the deaths of an additional 87 civilians. Thousands more people including children were blinded. The report showed children ages six to twelve are being used by insurgent groups as bomb couriers and in intelligence gathering and combat roles.
Authorities have invoked laws prohibiting the harming of any religious sentiments or provoking enmity. This has placed restrictions on the distribution and publication of books, broadcast media and print media.
The arrest of journalist Prabhat Singh in March was cited. The police allegedly shared critical messages from the state police. The police also arrested Deepak Jaiswal for inquires made into the Prabhat Singh case. A second investigation was launched by the CBI of Anand and Setalvad for allegedly misusing foreign donor grants. Their interim bail was extended by the Supreme Court. The authorities filed the case as retaliation for the work they did on the victim’s behalf in the 2002 Guharat riots.