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Dec 07, 2015

For a country lauded for its tolerance over a wide variety of religious beliefs and practices, India is seeing the rise of an overwhelming right winged Hindu nationalist movement. India’s constitutionally upheld secular image is deteriorating. The former part of this year has seen 24 out of 29 states implement bans on beef consumption or possession as Hindus consider cows as sacred animals and slaughtering them would be blasphemous. Furthermore, the frequency of attacks on Muslims has increased, instilling fear within a community that makes up 14% of India’s population. The country’s liberal elements have also come under threat following murders of atheist and rationalist scholars. Although the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) philosophy is to push for ‘Hindutva’ or cultural nationalism, they stress their disassociation from any religion. However, the government’s silence in light of recent religiously charged violence has brought into question India’s social, economic and political future.