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.