Got beef? In India, if you do, it could get you killed. That’s what happened to a Muslim man last week after word spread he may have slaughtered a cow – sacred in the Hindu faith – and eaten it.
The incident has reignited a national conversation about meat and religious sensitivity, which has been especially heated this year. In March, the government of Maharashtra, home of India’s commercial capital Mumbai, tightened its beef laws. More recently, Mumbai issued a four-day ban on the sale and slaughter of all meat last month, a decision that came in response to demands from the vegetarian Jain community ahead of an 8-day religious fast.

Liberal activists and minorities say the bans and resulting religious tensions are a result of a Hindu nationalist agenda being pushed by the government. They argue India has become less democratic and tolerant of minorities under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took office in May 2014. Modi’s supporters, however, downplay the concerns and accuse activists and the media of blowing things out of proportion.

So, is India’s diverse and secular identity under threat? Or is the government protecting the religious sensitivities of the majority? We discuss at 19:30 GMT.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Sudhanshu Trivedi @SudhanshuTrived
Spokesperson, BJP

Mohammad Ali @hindureporter
Journalist, The Hindu

Sunanda Vashisht @sunandavashisht
Co-founder, MyIndMakers

Sandip Roy @sandipr
Novelist and senior editor, First Post 

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