The past few years in India have seen an increase in coordinated vigilante violence by right wing groups on issues such as gaukashi (cow slaughter). This has led to the mob lynching of persons belonging to religious minorities. Killings of rationalists and dissidents, and a few cases of bombings targeting Muslims, have also been attributed to right wing groups (RWGs). The recent elections for the Indian Parliament have sparked debate over the role of investigative agencies and the criminal justice system in the handling of bombings attributed to RWGs. An examination of state policy and legal responses to the violence that has characterised right wing extremism (RWE) in India shows that the association of religion with RWE does not explain its distinctiveness. The RWGs in India have become significant because of their relationship with the ruling party in India and the dominant political ideology of Hindutva. An examination of public discourse and legal responses to RWE shows a relationship between the dominant ideologies of political regimes and the construction of terrorism. This has implications for constitutional democracy and the rule of law.