A pregnant cow in India has reportedly had its mouth blown off with explosives, sparking uproar among Indian social media users and reigniting ongoing debates about the ruling party’s stoking of Hindu-Muslim tensions in the country.
A photo of a cow with its mouth hanging in tatters was being circulated on Twitter on Sunday morning, with Indian media reports claiming the cow was pregnant and had lost its mouth due to eating wheat stuffed with firecrackers.
Cows are a sacred animal in Hinduism, India’s majority religion, and reports of non-Hindus allegedly harming them have caused controversy in the past.
Many users who shared posts of the cow used the hashtags #JusticeForHimalchalCow, referring to the province Himalchal Pradesh, and #JusticeForNandini, apparently in reference to the cow’s name.
BJP accused of stoking religious tensions
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been accused of manipulating attacks on animals to stoke religious differences to appeal to its Hindu nationalist base.
BJP MP Maneka Gandhi recently came under fire for suggesting that the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala was a negative reflection of the state’s Muslim-majority district of Malappuram, despite the incident not happening in the district.
“Look at the crime rate in Malappuram. Communal conflicts are highest there. Malappuram is perhaps the most disturbed district in the country. Every day there is some incident or the other there. They have killed so many women. They create Hindu-Muslim tensions, chop off people’s arms,” said Gandhi in an interview, prompting several legal complaints against her.
Following the latest incident, many social media users pointed out that the attack had occurred the BJP-ruled state of Himachal Pradesh, suggesting that the BJP could not blame other political parties for the incident as it has previously done.
“ Pradesh is not ruled by the LEFT. There is no Muslim majority district in Himachal. Meneka Gandhi cannot shift blame this time. Heartbreaking it is. She must be devastated,” wrote @Advaidism.
Himachal Pradesh is not ruled by the LEFT.— Advaid അദ്വൈത് 🌹 (@Advaidism) June 7, 2020
There is no Muslim majority district in Himachal.
Meneka Gandhi cannot shift blame this time. Heartbreaking it is. She must be devastated.#JusticeforNandini
Another user poked fun at Gandhi’s forceful statement on the elephant case and comparative quiet on the cow.