India Cracks Down On Cow Slaughtering And The Sale Of Beef In Latest Attack On Secular Government

black-and-white-cow-31024px-Flag_of_India.svgWhen one thinks of the countries without a separation of church and state, countries like Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others come readily to mind. It is often easy to forget that India struggles with the same issue as many call for the enforcement of core Hindi values. That was on display in Mewat, India when police raided roadside food stalls to confiscate beef and arrest anyone guilty of slaughtering a cow or selling the meat. This is a new local ordinance and violators can face 10 or 5 years respectively in jail.

pm_modi_2015Police reportedly picked beef out of rice dishes in their raid and investigation. The new law is in line with the Hindu-centric policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Modi has called for greater protection of India’s Hindu identity and he has been criticized for eroding secular principles. India has secular traditions but they have often come into conflict with religious dogma and Modi has stirred religious sentiments in his call for greater enforcement of religious dogma. He is viewed much like Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoganwho dismantled the only true secular Islamic country and has imposed authoritarian measures on the population.

Muslims have been attacked in India and even killed over allegations that they have slaughtered cows, a sacred animal for Hindu followers. Civil libertarians charge that the raids are targeting non-Hindus and creating a hostile environment for religious minorities. Modi has been accused of supporting vigilantes attacking Muslims.

Modi is moving his country backward in pursuing a government that enforces religious dogma. As India emerges as a technological and science leader, it is an effort to embrace popular but discriminatory practices. Like Erdogan, it is always popular to appeal to religious values to excite a population but it is far more difficult to control those passions as religious minorities are targeted by the faithful.

27 thoughts on “India Cracks Down On Cow Slaughtering And The Sale Of Beef In Latest Attack On Secular Government

  1. To kill cows in Hindi is probably worse than killing our precious house pets in the west. In some ways it might even be worse than killing humans. This is not only a religious mentality it’s a cultural belief. I’m not trying to justify it, I just understand how they perceive the slaughter of their sacred cows. People that are none religious elevate animals in the US.

    All things being equal, I guess I’d rather spend 5-10 in prison for killing a sacred animal instead of execution for taking off my burka. An Indian jail might be a slower death.

    Although it’s a theocracy, I don’t think I could compare Modi to Erdogan. Maybe I’m just too close to my Turkish friends that wore mini skirts in college 30 years ago and won’t return home now. Maybe I’m too close to my Hindi ancestry, too.

    I’m not sure I can view this blog post without my own prejudice.

    All I can say is that introducing incompatible cultures into a country creates violence. .

  2. Modi is moving his country backward in pursuing a government that enforces religious dogma.

    No, he’s undertaking actions which pay their respects to public sensibilities in India. The prejudices of DC law professor are of no interest there, nor should they be.

  3. Israel? That one most certainly does NOT “come readily” to MY mind.

    Clearly, you know next to nothing about Israel.

    Anyway, devout Hindus believe in reincarnation, and they believe that people can often come back as cows. So killing a cow is akin to murdering a person. Cows are seen wandering through village roadways, like squirrels and ducks do here.

    Anyway, you are some law professor if you conflate a LOCAL ordinance with a national policy. Indeed, the very article you cite makes just that point: “Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Vijay Chauthaiwale, who is also an active RSS member, said the central government had nothing to do with the state law. “That is a local level policy,” he said, adding that he supported the law. “Personally, I am fine with these controls.”” Did you even read it?

    And then there’s this:

    “Prior Supreme Court verdicts on the beef ban have been inconsistent. In 2005, the court upheld a ban on cow slaughter in the Gujarat. But in September the judges stopped a temporary prohibition of beef sales in Mumbai.”

    Obviously, there’s obviously a genuine separation of “church” and state in India (just as there is in Israel). What Idea allows is for localities to pass legislation that reflects the people’s values–which is a good thing. We have that here, in fact, in things like the ability/right to sell alcohol; there are “dry” counties in many states, and prior to the constitutional nuclear destruction of Roe against Wade, states in our union could outlaw abortion if they wanted. These legislative choices are motivated by the religious faith of the people residing in those counties and states. Can we infer from these examples that America’s got exactly the problem you attribute to India?

  4. Some ideas that have been practiced for centuries just happen to be good ideas. Eating beef causes high cholesterol levels and serious heart disease, and in the US has caused the proliferation of anti-biotic resistant bacteria. It can cause teeth to rot and has little flavor without lots of salt, not to mention the immorality of severe instances of animal suffering.

    Also the Jewish habits of not driving or using electricity on the Sabbath, thereby reducing energy consumption by 1/7 would also be good for everyone to practice, as is refraining from eating shellfish and pork which can cause severe allergies and disease respectively.

    Obviously other religious requirements are clear cases of suppression of women and satisfying a lust for carnage. All religious requirements are not equal.

  5. Theocracies where national, state or local are hazardous to humans. The US should refuse to provide assistance to any country that engages in this kind of practice at any level and we should not be engaged in it ourselves.

    • There are no theocracies, bar perhaps Iran. Since the secularization of the German prince-bishoprics, there have been none in the Occidental world bar the Papal States. They’ve never been very common outside the Caliphate.

  6. ” All religious requirements are not equal.”

    A common mis use of negation. I am pretty sure you meat ‘not all religious requirements are equal’.

    These two statements sound similar but they are very different. The first is impossible to prove and almost certainly wrong. It may be true that most religious requirements are not equal. But it is entirely conceivable that some where out there are a few religious requirements that are equal. The fact that we have not found them yet does not mean they do not exist.

    The second proposition is easy to prove by counter example. All we have to do is find two religious requirements that are not equal.

    I would argue that trial by drowning and trial by crushing under rocks are close enough to be considered equal – at least to me. We should note that the equality of trial by drowning and trial crushing under rocks disproves the proposition ” All religious requirements are not equal” because we just showed two that are equal.

    I further argue that those two religious beliefs can be distinguished from, and are not equal to, prohibitions of selling alcohol on Sunday. The inequality proves my reformulation ‘not all religious requirements are equal’, because we just cited some religious requirements that are not equal.

    Now that we have the negation straightened out, it is easy to see there are probably many religious requirements that are not equal. All we have to do is find a clear statement of the requirement and compare it with other requirements.

    But going around laboring under the misconception that ” All religious requirements are not equal.” tends to get people very confused and can lead on to religious prejudice – and we don’t want that, now do we.

  7. ” All religious requirements are not equal.”

    A common mis use of negation. I am pretty sure you meat ‘not all religious requirements are equal’.

    These two statements sound similar but they are very different. The first is impossible to prove and almost certainly wrong. It may be true that most religious requirements are not equal. But it is entirely conceivable that some where out there are a few religious requirements that are equal. The fact that we have not found them yet does not mean they do not exist.

    The second proposition is easy to prove by counter example. All we have to do is find two religious requirements that are not equal.

    I would argue that trial by drowning and trial by crushing under rocks are close enough to be considered equal – at least to me. We should note that the equality of trial by drowning and trial by crushing under rocks disproves the proposition ” All religious requirements are not equal” because we just showed two that are equal.

    I further argue that those two religious beliefs can be distinguished from, and are not equal to, prohibitions of selling alcohol on Sunday. The inequality proves my reformulation ‘not all religious requirements are equal’, because we just cited some religious requirements that are not equal.

    Now that we have the negation straightened out, it is easy to see there are probably many religious requirements that are not equal. All we have to do is find a clear statement of the requirement and compare it with other requirements.

    But going around laboring under the misconception that ” All religious requirements are not equal.” tends to get people very confused and can lead on to religious prejudice – and we don’t want that, now do we.

    • As fascinating as the subject of negation is, this comment really only needs to appear once.

      I am sure many would agree once is quite enough.

      Perhaps some knowledgeable reader who understands web pages can explain how how the same comment can be submitted (and accepted) twice?

  8. If they would prosecute people for killing elephants then I would be happy. And if we in America would prosecute people here for buying ivory then I would be happy. One leads to the other and vice versa. And second verse is same as the first.

  9. Professor you should refrain from commenting on topics you know little of…….

    first of all Hindi is a language, it is Hinduism that is the religion. Either you are ignorant or do not edit your blog before publishing it!

    Secondly, as even you state that it is a local ordnance (another blogger has already commented on this as well); to jump from that to criticizing Modi government appears to me that you have an agenda…..to just shed negative light on India….

  10. On a wider note, I have noticed this national world leader thing happen before.
    In the 1930’s to 1950’s, there was a marked rise in authoritarian national heads of state, including our own FDR.
    This trend seems to be happening again, now with our own DJTrump.

    Things that make you go, Hmmmm.

    • FDR was not an ‘authoritarian’ head of state. Constitutional government imploded in a number of foreign countries for reasons local to those countries, though the Depression was a common cause of political stress.

      • He was about as authoritarian as we can get in America.
        Revamped all the federal rules to extend into state activities, interned whole populations, illegalized gold, imposed all kinds of economic restrictions on private activities, . . . the list goes on.

        • You seem to confuse the President and Congress. Except for interning Japanese civilians, everything on your list required statutory legislation.

          Although there were unfortunate excursions into federal subventions to state government, these were comparatively modest. It was the Johnson Administration which went whole-hog into that. Replacing the classical gold standard was good policy.

          • Sounds like sheer apologetics.
            Don’t understate the power and intentions of a president in getting legislation passed.
            And those “unfortunate excursions” are things we still have to live with today.
            And no, fiat currency is not a good policy, money should be tied to something tangible and valuable. To do otherwise is simply to give government administrators the ability to revalue everyone’s savings and inventory, with a stroke of a pen, and takes away the autonomy of individuals’ economic planning.

  11. India:
    1. Wishes to be a key player in the ‘World Economy’? Check.
    2. Past/present military disputes with neighboring countries? Double Check.
    3. Member of of the ‘Nuclear Club’? Check Mate.

    Seems to me their country’s internal policies should not be immune from outside commentary.

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