New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has for the first time spoken directly on the mob killing of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over beef rumours, calling it “really sad” but also underscoring that his government had no role in the case.
“Incidents like Dadri and Ghulam Ali are really sad but what is the role of the Centre in them?” PM Modi has told the newspaper Anandabazar Patrika.
The prime minister also takes on opposition leaders who have for days accused him of a “deafening silence” on the Dadri killing.
“The same debate has happened in the past. The BJP has always opposed pseudo-secularism. Now they are using these sad incidents to revive the debate. The BJP does not support such incidents. The opposition is using these incidents to accuse the BJP of communalism but isn’t the opposition playing the politics of polarization?” he said.
On September 28 in Dadri, 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged out of his home by a mob and beaten to death after announcements were made at a local temple about a calf being killed.
Many of the men suspected to be in the mob are linked to a local BJP leader.
PM Modi had been criticised by rival parties for not speaking up even as his party men made incendiary remarks after the gruesome killing.
Last week while campaigning in Bihar, Mr Modi did not mention Dadri as he urged Hindus and Muslims to fight poverty, not each other. “Because of politics and for petty gains, people are making irresponsible statements. I appeal to citizens not to take them seriously. Even if Narendra Modi himself says something like that, don’t listen to him,” he said at a rally.
The Modi government is confronting strong condemnation over what critics call rising intolerance in India following the Dadri killing, the murder of three rationalists and the excesses of ally Shiv Sena, which has opposed events in Mumbai involving prominent Pakistanis like singer Ghulam Ali and politician Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. In the past few days, over 20 writers have returned prestigious awards in protest.