The Union home ministry asked states to take strict action against anyone trying to “weaken the secular fabric of the country” in a rare advisory issued on Monday following days of nation-wide outrage over the lynching of a Muslim man on rumours that he ate beef.
Mohammad Ikhlaq was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son Danish was critically injured by a 200-strong mob which barged into their house on Monday night following an announcement from loudspeakers installed in the local temple that the family ate beef. The family alleged their neighbours did not help them.
The directive, unusual in that it was prompted by a state-specific incident, came as members of the centre-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party are being accused of siding with the alleged killers in the incident that took place not far from the national capital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also come under Opposition attack for his “silence” over the incident, with Congress, Lalu Prasad’s RJD, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, UP’s ruling Samajwadi Party speaking against him. “He (the PM) is not only blind but also deaf and dumb and a coward,” Prasad said at a poll rally in Bihar.
The Home ministry statement said that though law and order is state subject, the ministry has been concerned with various incidents with communal overtones across the country “including the recent unfortunate incident at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh”.
Issued late evening, the statement added, “There is zero tolerance for any attempt to weaken the secular fabric of the nation and/or exploiting religious emotions or sentiments”.
Minority affairs minister Najma Heptullah said those responsible for the Dadri should be “punished”, while her deputy, MA Naqvi said “no destructive agenda” would be allowed.
“The strongly-worded statement is clearly to show that the government will not go soft on any incident of communal nature,” said an official.
The ministry had separately sent advisory to Uttar Pradesh on October 1, asking it to ensure that incidents like Dadri do not happen again. The ministry had also sought a report from the state government on the Dadri incident.