Tensions high in India after three men murdered over eating beef
Local Muslims have been protesting the death of one of their own on the streets of southern India. A farmer, named Mohammad Akhlaq, was killed because of rumours that his family had eaten beef. And as shocking as that may seem, lynchings related to Muslims eating beef have been on the rise in India.
Just this week, an inquiry into Mohammad Akhlaq's death concluded that the Hindu mob that killed him was a premeditated attack.
The cow, of course, is considered a sacred animal to many Hindus, who make up 80% of India's 1.2 billion people. And cattle slaughter has long been a sensitive subject.
But recent deaths like this one have ratcheted up fears of a renewed cycle of violence between Hindus and Muslims.... and fears for India's future as a secular state. Especially since Narendra Modi and his Hindu Nationalists won big in national elections last year.
The death of Mohammad Akhlaq is just the latest recent attack on minorities inside India. Earlier this year, two Indian intellectuals were attacked and killed because their writing contravened the beliefs of Hindu fundamentalists.
So far more than 25 writers have returned their awards. Ashok Vajpeyi is among them. He is a renowned Hindi writer and poet. He served as chair of India's National Academy of Arts from 2008 to 2011. He is in Toronto to raise concerns about the crackdown on the freedom of expression in India.
Not everyone agrees the government of Narendra Modi bears blame for its response to the killing of Mohammed Akhlaq. Shiv Bhasker is with the Canadian branch of the Overseas Friends of the BJP...the BJP being Narendra Modi's political party. He is president of its Ottawa chapter.
This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry and Marc Apollonio.