James Baldwin once wrote, “If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected – those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most! –…and then you will know, not whether or not the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it.” Perhaps he was thinking about India of the twenty-first century. Or maybe, he was not. But, his words are an apt description of today’s India where an Alwar court on Wednesday acquitted all six accused in the lynching of Pehlu Khan, who was killed two years ago by a mob that set upon him when he was transporting cows.

The court’s acquittal of the six men even when video evidence is available shows that India’s criminal justice system has become rotten. The process of rotting probably started with the hanging of Afzal Guru when the Indian Supreme Court sentenced him to death to satisfy the collective consciousness of the nation. The Alwar court set the alleged killers of Pehlu Khan to not disturb the collective consciousness of the followers of Hindutva ideology.

Nevertheless, with the acquittal of the six alleged killers of Pehlu Khan it has become clear that Indian secularism is dead. The followers of Hindutva ideology who think of Hindus as the only legitimate residents of India get encouragement and appreciation from the courts for their vigilantism. Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, the cow protection gangs have intensified their attacks on minorities. And these groups are one facet of the more sinister malady, Saffron terrorism that is plaguing India right now. Those who believe in Saffron nationalism as ideology and Saffron terror as a modus operandi to make India a Hindu Rashtriya are rupturing the social fabric of the Indian society.

What is depressing is the collusion of the state institutions with the right-wingers in their desire to make India a Hindu state. However, the Indian government forgets that turning blind eye to the actions of the preachers and practitioners of Saffron terrorism means that the Indian state wants to get rid of all its minorities one by one. These days, when BJP is in power, are a premonition of a dark future for Indian secularism. Because power, Indian State, has allied with ignorance, Saffron nationalism, the idea of justice will battle against a deadly duo on the Indian soil.