Rise of religious intolerance in the sub-continent

There has been a disturbing rise of a virulent strain of Hindu extremism in India, similar to the Muslim extremism we have seen in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh and to Buddhist intolerance in Sri Lanka. In India, one form that this has taken is attacking those who eat beef, which observant Hindus do not do due to the cow having been raised to almost sacred status.

Teesta Setalvad writes about some recent events that seem to have at least the tacit backing of government authorities.

In the weeks leading up to this year’s festival of Eid ul Azha, a spate of attacks on Indians, almost all Muslim, dotted a political landscape already littered with incidents of lynching and bloodletting that have become more and more commonplace.

The first such incident that shook India out of her stupor took place on September 28, 2015, when Mohammad Akhlaq, a Muslim, was beaten to death after mob hysteria was stoked over his family storing beef. Since then, incidents across India reveal that, under the present political dispensation, “cow vigilante groups” have been empowered to take the law into their own hands by attacking, molesting, lynching and killing.

The attacks have taken place in states like Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh that are not ruled by the supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Attacks have also torn through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkand and Punjab, which are dominated by the ruling dispensation. The list is long and gory. In one public lynching in Latehar, Jharkhand this March, two Muslim men—a young teenager and his uncle—were left hanging from trees.

Among the most recent is the beating death of 29-year-old Mohammad Ayub, who was carrying a calf along with Salim Shaikh in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. A vigilante mob set upon them, and while the police watched, beat the young man so mercilessly died two days later on Sept. 16, 2016. Under the law, he was committing an illegal act, as several states in India have enacted rules that ban the slaughter of cows and their progeny (excluding bulls and bullocks in some cases, but not others). But in a country that claims to be a modern and civilized state, the world’s largest democracy, did Mohammad Ayub deserve to be surrendered to the lynch mob?

People in the west have a somewhat romanticized view of Hinduism and Buddhism, seeing them as reflective and peaceful religions that have introduced them to meditation and yoga. While that is undoubtedly true of their philosophies, actual Hindus and Buddhists can be as violent and extreme and intolerant as any fundamentalist Muslim or Christian.


  1. mnb0 says

    “People in the west have a somewhat romanticized view of Hinduism and Buddhism”
    You cured at least one westerner from this -- me.

  2. jrkrideau says

    Given P.M. Narendra Modi’s earlier record in Gujarat it is not at all surprising to see this.

  3. kural says


    ‘I hate Hindus, wanted to spark communal tensions’

    Two months after claiming harassment by an auto driver over his office bag, Barun Kashyap sings a different tune during custodial interrogation; political conspiracy angle being probed too. Film executive Barun Kashyap, who sparked a huge controversy in August after claiming that an auto driver bullied him accusing him of using a bag made of cowhide, spun a web of lies to disrupt communal harmony in Mumbai. This sensational revelation came during Kashyap’s interrogation in police custody. In a confessional statement, Mirror accessed a copy, the creative director with a media house said his ‘hatred for Hindus’ prompted him to come up with the story. “I accept that I lied about the entire incident. No such incident ever took place. My Facebook post was a lie,” reads the statement. To questions by cops about the reason for such a bluff, the 24-year-old said, “I lied because have hatred towards Hindus.”

  4. kural says

    Murder of Prashanth Poojary
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    The murder of Prashanth Poojary refers to the killing of Prashanth Poojary in Moodabidri a town in Dakshina Kannada district of the Indian state of Karnataka. Poojary, a 29 year old flower seller and member of Bajrang Dal, was stabbed with blade by six assailants on 9 October 2015 at about 7.00 am IST. As of 29 October 2015, ten people have been arrested in connection with the attack, allegedly motivated by Poojary’s activism against the slaughter of cows, which is illegal locally and breaches the traditional taboo against cattle slaughter in India.[1][2][3] One suspect Mohammad Imtiaz Gantalkatte was arrested from Mumbai airport as he was attempting to flee India for Dubai.[4]
    An eyewitness to the incident 60 year old Vaman Poojary, a tender coconut seller whose shop was opposite Poojary’s shop, went missing on 15 October, 2015. He was found dead on the next day.[5] It has been alleged by Nalin Kumar Kateel MP from Dakshina Kannada constituency to which the town of Moodabidri belongs that witnesses were being threatened over international phone calls including those made from Pakistan and asked not to testify against the suspects.[6] The Karnataka government also revealed that its minister Abhay Chandra Jain received threats Karnataka police consider this murder as a part of a conspiracy to incite communal hatred in the region.[7]
    Because the incident has not received the same attention as the recent killings of Muslims for being ‘beef eaters’ (such as the 2015 mob lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri), some Hindu activists have used this incident to allege a double standard amongst “progressive” Indians.[8] This was exemplified in a Zee News talk show titled “Cow slaughter: Protests against Dadri lynching, why silence over Prashanth Poojary’s murder?”[9] Vishwesha Teertha, a religious leader and adviser to the Hindu nationalist Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) who is prominent in the Go Seva (Sanskrit: Cow protection) movement, has similarly asserted bias on the part of the Indian National Congress state government in the matter.[8]

  5. kural says

    This is secular intolerance of the Communist Party of India in India’s allegedly most developed learned state Kerala
    BJP worker killed in hometown of Kerala CM, who had allegedly supported such killings
    Mano, it’s so funny to see a scholar like you fall for the misinformation of the Teesta Setalvad the Indian Breitbart.

    OpIndia Staff

    Posted on October 12, 2016
    Violent attacks and killings of RSS and BJP workers have increased ever since the Left front government took charge in Kerala in May 2016, and the situation doesn’t seem to be improving. Barely four days after BJP President Amit Shah shared the news of a young BJP worker named Vishnu being hacked to death, comes the news of another BJP worker named Ramith being killed in Kerala.


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