HOLY COW IN INDIA: A POLITICAL DISCOURSE AND SOCIAL MEDIA ANALYSIS FOR RESTORATIVE JUSTICE; pp. 219–237Full article in PDF format | 10.3176/tr.2021.2.04
The issue of holy cows in India has gained significant importance on social media and connects with the political dilemma between Hindus and Muslims. This paper discusses political discourse and people’s dark shades of emotion on social media to cow vigilante violence in India. It elaborates legislation differences on cow slaughter, historical and political aspects of cow vigilante violence against Muslim and Dalit minorities in India. Drawing from literature, the vigilante groups in India use social media platforms to disseminate content on cow vigilantism and publicize spectacles for political benefits. Social activists who support political leaders play a vital role in spreading the cow vigilante violence content through end-to-end encrypted social media apps to create turbulent situations among vulnerable communities. The situation analysis of cow vigilante violence shows that the Hindu nationalists perpetuate violence against Muslims in retribution of perceived historic harm caused by the Muslim rulers of subcontinent India. This paper has identified restorative justice theories that could guide the transformation of cow vigilante violence situation factors into peaceful coexistence of Hindus and Muslims in India. Further, Galtung’s peace model added value to ensure the functionality of peacebuilding, peacemaking, and peacekeeping among Hindus, Muslims, and Dalit minorities in India.
Adcock, C. (2018) “Cow protection and minority rights in India: reassessing religious freedom”. Asian Affairs 49, 2, 340–354.
Ahuja, J., T. Bjørgo, and M. Mareš (2019) “Protecting holy cows: Hindu vigilantism against Muslims in India”. In T. Bjørgo and M. Mareš, eds. Vigilantism against migrants and minorities, 55–68. Abington and New York: Routledge.
Angad, A., and A. D. Johri (2016) “The cow keepers: some cattle vigilante groups operating in Delhi and neighboring states”. The Indian Express, August 8. Available online at
<https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/the-cow-keepers-the-cattle-vigilante-groups-operating-in-delhi-and-neighbouring-states/>. Accessed on 07.04.2021.
Akram, M., A. Nasar, M. R. Safdar, and F. Sher (2021) “Restorative justice approach to cow vigilante violence in India”. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies 8, 1, 190–205.
Asrar, S. (2017) “India suspends ban on trade of cattle for slaughter”. Al-Jazeera, July 11. Available online at
<www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/07/india-suspends-ban-trade-cattle-slaughter—170711075047079.html/>. Accessed on 07.04.2021.
Banaji, S., and R. Bhat, A. Agarwal, N. Passanha, and M. Sadhana Pravin (2019) “WhatsApp vigilantes: an exploration of citizen reception and circulation of WhatsApp misinformation linked to mob violence in India”. LSE. Available online at
<https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/medialse/2019/11/11/whatsapp-vigilantes-an-exploration-of-citizen-reception-and-circulation-of-whatsapp-misinformation-linked-to-mob-violence-in-india/>. Accessed on 07.04.2021.
Bazemore, G. (1998) “Guide for implementing the balanced and restorative justice model”. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Bepari, S. (2020) “Cow-politics in India: a study on recent developments”. National Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Development 5, 2, 32–38.
Business Line (2019) “Livestock population in India rises 4.6 percent to nearly 546 million, shows census”. The Hindu Business Line, October 16. Available online at
<www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/livestock-population-in-india-rises-46-to-nearly-536-m-shows-census/article29708130.ece#>. Accessed on 28.10.2019.
Chatterjee, A. K. (2016) “How the British gave a fillip to cow vigilantism in colonial India”. Huffington Post. Available online at
<www.huffingtonpost.in/arup-k-chatterjee/how-the-british-gave-a-fillip-to-cow-vigilantism-in-colonial-ind_a_21447730/>. Accessed on 30.10.2019.
Census 2011 “Religious census 2011”. Available online at
<https://www.census2011.co.in/religion.php>. Accessed on 28.10.2019.
Chigateri S. (2011) “Negotiating the ‘sacred’ cow: cow slaughter and the regulation of difference in India”. In M. Mookherjee, ed. Democracy, religious pluralism and the liberal dilemma of accommodation. (Studies in Global Justice, 7.) Springer, Dordrecht.
Doniger, W. (2017) “Hinduism and its complicated history with cows (and people who eat them)”. The Conversation. Available online at
<http://theconversation.com/hinduism-and-its-complicated-history-with-cows-and-people-who-eat-them-80586>. Accessed on 30.10.2019.
Galtung, J. (1976) Three approaches to peace: peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding. Copenhagen: Christian Ejlers.
Gowen, A. (2018) “Why India has 5 million stray cows roaming the country”. The Washington Post, July 16. Available online at
<www.washingtonpost.com/world/ 2018/07/16/amp-stories/why-india-has-million-stray-cows-roaming-country/>. Accessed on 28.10.2019.
Gundimeda, S. and V. S. Ashwin (2018) “Cow protection in India: from secularising to legitimating debates”. South Asia Research 38, 2, 156–176.
Gupta, I. (2019) “MOB violence and vigilantism in India”. World Affairs: The Journal of International Issues 23, 4, 152–172.
Hindustan Times (2013) “107 killed in riots this year; 66 Muslims, 41 Hindus”. Hindustan Times, September 24. Available online at
<www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/107-killed-in-riots-this-year-66-muslims-41-hindus/story-uqHMNT093ZqMa0WAsWdIpJ.html>. Accessed on 20.01.2020.
Hindustan Times (2015) Those who want to eat beef should go to Pak: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi”. Hindustan Times, May 22. Available online at
<https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/those-who-want-to-eat-beef-should-go-to-pak-mukhtar-abbas-naqvi/story-kTyciMp58MrUhrWJfp5kFK.html>. Accessed on 10.10.2019.
Human Rights Watch (2019) “Violent cow protection in India, vigilante groups attack minorities”. Human Rights Watch. Available online at
<https://www.hrw.org/report/2019/02/18/violent-cow-protection-india/vigilante-groups-attack-minorities>. Accessed on 10.01.2020.
Jha, D. N. (2002) “The myth of the holy cow”. London and New York: Verso.
Kahane, A. (2012) “Transformative scenario planning: changing the future by exploring alternatives”. Strategy & Leadership 40, 5, 19–23.
Kennedy, U., A. Sharma, and C. J. C. Phillips (2018) “The sheltering of unwanted cattle, experiences in India and implications for cattle industries elsewhere”. Animals 8, 5, 1-8.
Krishnan, M. (2016) “Cow vigilantism spreads fear and rage through India”. Deutsche Welle, August 9.
Krishnan, M. (2019) “Indian religious minorities face increased violence under Modi”. Deutsche Welle, June 25. Available online at
<https://p.dw.com/p/3L3Fa>. Accessed on 07.04.2021.
Liou, C. (2013) Using social media for the prevention of violence against women. (Working Paper, 6.) Bangkok: Partners for Prevention. Available online at
<http://partners4prevention.org/sites/default/files/resources/socialmedia_final.pdf>. Accessed on 07.04.2021.
Mirchandani, M. (2018) “Digital hatred, real violence: majoritarian radicalisation and social media in India”. ORF Occasional Paper 167, 1–30.
Narayanan, Y. (2019) “Cow is a mother, mothers can do anything for their children! Gaushalas as landscapes of anthropatriarchy and Hindu patriarchy”. HYPATIA. A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 34, 2, 195–221.
Narrain, S. (2017) “Dangerous speech in real time: social media, policing, and communal violence”. Economic and Political Weekly Engage, 24.
Parashar, U. (2017) “No beef ban if we come to power in poll-bound northeast states: BJP”. The Hindustan Times, 28 March. Available online at
<www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/no-beef-ban-if-we-come-to-power-in-poll-bound-ne-states-bjp/story-s73qgNWp0gWNf3B6NAJIbM.html>. Accessed on 08.01.2020.
Parikh, A. and C. Miller (2020) “When sacred cows become tools of the state”. Available online at
<https://edgeeffects.net/beef-testing-beef-ban/>. Accessed on 04.02.2021.
Pavlich, G. (2005) Healing crime’s harm. In his Governing paradoxes of restorative justice, 25–42. London: GlassHouse Press.
Siyech, M. and A. Narain (2018) “Beef-related violence in India: an expression of Islamophobia”. Islamophobia Studies Journal 4, 2, 181–194.
Sunder, J. (2018) “Religious beef: Dalit literature, bare life, and cow protection in India”. Interventions 21, 3, 337-353.
Upadhyay, A. (2016). “Cow urine can sell for more than milk in India”. Bloomberg. Available online at <www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-07-17/cow-urine-can-sell-for-more-than-milk-in-india>. Accessed on 04.02.2021.
Ward, M. (2020) “Walls and cows: social media, vigilante vantage, and political discourse”. Social Media + Society 6, 2.
Weitekamp, E. G., S. Parmentier, K. Vanspauwen, M. Valinas, and R. Gerits (2006) “How to deal with mass victimization and gross human rights violations: a restorative justice approach”. NATO Security Through Science. Series E: Human and Societal Dynamics 13, 217.
Wilson, J. J. (2001) “A comparison of four restorative conferencing models”. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Available online at
<https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/184738.pdf>. Accessed on 07.04.2021.
Winston, K. (2015) “The ‘Splainer: What makes the cow sacred to Hindus?” The Washington Post, November 5. Available online at
<www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/ the-splainer-what-makes-the-cow-sacred-to-hindus/2015/11/05/acdde3e2-840c-11e5-8bd2-680fff868306_story.html>. Accessed on 28.10.2019.
Woolford, A. (2009) “Delineating the restorative justice ethos: history, theory, and restorative justice”. In The politics of restorative justice: a critical introduction. Black Point, NS: Fernwood Publishing.
Youth Ki Awaaz (2019) “When it’s not about cows, it’s about ‘Jai Shri Ram’”. Human Rights, News, Politics, June 29, Available online at
<https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2019/06/lynched-in-india/>. Accessed on 28.10.2019.
Back to Issue