Union minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday the government had learnt a lesson from the Dadri lynching episode and that it should have communicated faster in the case.
“We believe food is a matter of personal choice... no one can dictate people,” Javadekar said in a show on television news channel NDTV.
The senior BJP leader – who described the Congress’ march to the President against what it called growing intolerance in the country as “a political stunt” – also spoke out against intolerance in the course of the panel discussion.
Javadekar distanced the BJP from its leader Kailash Vijayvargiya’s comment calling actor Shah Rukh Khan “anti-national” for his critical remarks, saying Vijayvargiya wasn’t the party’s spokesman. “I condemn his comments outright,” he said.
The government has been under attack for its silence over the “highly vitiated atmosphere” in the country, particularly after the lynching of a 52-year-old Muslim man over rumours he ate beef in Greater Noida’s Dadri village in September.
Javadekar said right communication at the right time was a lesson from the Dadri incident.
Javadekar’s remark came after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being silent on incidents such as Dadri lynching.
The Congress said distinguished men and women from various walks of life have raised their voices of protest against the growing intolerance, “but senior ministers have belittled these actions in characteristically intemperate manner”.