Incidents such as the lynching of a man in Bisada village of Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he had slaughtered a cow affect India’s image and could lead to “policy diversions”, Union minister Arun Jaitley has said.
“We have to rise above these incidents because they certainly don’t bring a good name as far as country is concerned. And I have also said that they can amount to policy diversions,” Jaitley told NDTV after a lecture at New York’s Columbia University in New York.
He said India is a “mature society” and it is the “responsibility of every Indian, in his actions or in his comments, to stay clear of unfortunate or condemnable incidents of this kind”.
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In an incident that made headlines around the world, 55-year-old Mohammad Ikhlaq was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son Danish critically injured when a mob broke into their home in Bisada last week, accusing them of butchering a calf and eating beef.
Jaitley is among the few senior leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party who have publicly commented on the Bisada incident. Opposition parties have targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what they describe as his silence on the issue.
On Sunday, Union home minister Rajnath Singh had termed the incident “unfortunate” and said that it should not be given any “communal colour”. The home minister also said no one should do politics over the incident.
The BJP was criticised after its controversial lawmaker Sangeet Som , charged with inciting riots in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, visited Bisada and vowed to help the accused. Some also described Ikhlaq’s family as “cow killers”.
In an effort to control the situation, the Union home ministry issued an advisory to all states on Monday that said there will be “zero tolerance” for incidents that “attempt to weaken the secular fabric of the nation and exploit religious sentiments”.