Killed for eating beef

The more politicians try to appease religious groups, the worse things get as the groups demand more and more. This seems to be a global problem affecting pretty much all religions. In the US we see Christian groups seek one exemption after another from following the rules that everyone else must follow by saying that not being allowed to do so means that their religion is being persecuted. Paradoxically, these claims of persecution become worse when these religions are in the majority because they can get politicians to pander to them, as we see with Christian extremists in the US, Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, Hindu extremists in India, and Muslim extremists in many Muslim-majority countries.

In Hindu-majority India, the election of Narendra Modi, widely seen as a Hindu nationalist, has emboldened hardline Hindus in their intolerance of others and this has extended to such things as increasing restrictions on the selling of beef because of Hindu veneration of cows.

But that is not all. There was this recent report of a mob of people invading the home of a Muslim man and brutally killing him, critically injuring his son, and assaulting his 82-year old mother, his wife, and daughter merely because of an unfunded rumor that the man’s family was eating beef. This is not the first time that rabid Hindu nationalists have attacked Muslims because they felt they have official sanction.

Police said they have sent samples of the meat in the man’s home for testing to see if it was beef or mutton (which is what goat meat is called in India). But it should not matter what meat it is. There is absolutely no excuse to murder someone because that person violates your religious taboos.

It is at times like this that the truth of Voltaire’s statement becomes manifest: “As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities.”


  1. atheistblog says

    Don’t fool yourself by believing that rise of modi is causing this. It’s started around 35 years ago, though hindu-muslim friction has been there for centuries, particularly last 35 years it is at its peak. Modi is culmination of the past 35 years. And there wasn’t much friction between hindu-christian like hindu-muslim until three decades ago. What has changed ? Hindutuva movements are there more than a century, but why all these got worse past 35 years ?
    Srinlanka-Tamil problem is more of ethnic problem than religious problem, but religion only came to picture later.

  2. hexidecima says

    @1 to try to split ethnicity from religion is ridiculous, especially in these locations. All you seem to be doing is excusing religion, when it is exactly why people act this way.

  3. lorn says

    IMO it is highly likely that extreme Hindu fundamentalists have always been represented in India as a minority. I suspect that the frictions with Islam and India/Pakistan/Bangladesh divisions and conflicts have presented the radical Hindu fundamentalists with a ample opportunity to expand their constituency, following, and power. They do this primarily by offering themselves as a counterforce to Muslim extremism, emphasizing the Hindu aspect of nationalism, and doing everything they can to delegitimize moderates of any stripe.

    As I understand it eating beef isn’t uncommon in India. That there is/was a regular traffic in beef consumed on special occasions by less orthodox Hindus. As it was put to me by someone who grew up in India, albeit thirty years ago, the beef had to have died by some form of benign neglect (frankly a much more horrible death than slaughter) and it was consumed as a special treat for rare special occasions.

    This stance of passively accepting limited beef consumptions as long as formalities are observed and it is kept low-key was of a time when Hindu fundamentalists were less powerful and less vocal. This seems to have changed.

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