7 Oct, 2015
In directing States to show “zero tolerance” to attempts to “weaken the secular fabric” of the country, the Union Home Ministry was voicing its concern at the widening social acceptance of communal violence as a normal part of everyday life. The lynching in Dadri of Mohammad Akhlaq for “eating beef” was an extreme case, but the circumstances that led to the murder were not dissimilar to those in many other parts of the country following the political mobilisation along communal lines against cattle slaughter. That the Ministry thought it fit to issue the directive despite law and order being a State subject indicates the seriousness of the situation in several States. Many Hindutva activists have projected cow slaughter as a deliberate assault on the religious sensitivities of Hindus by butchers and traders and exporters belonging to other religions. In such a situation, it would not take much effort on the part of extremist elements to portray any meal in a non-Hindu family as a grave provocation.