NEW DELHI -- While several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders make outrageous remarks about the lynching of a Muslim man, accused of slaughtering a cow by a Hindu mob in Bisada village, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley condemned the incident for a second time on Monday, and he said that such instances tarnish India's image in the world.
"India is a mature society. We need to rise above these kinds of incidents because they certainly don't give a good name as far as the country is concerned," Jaitley told reporters following a lecture at Columbia University in New York, PTI reported.
"I have also said they can amount to policy diversions in that context so it is the responsibility of every Indian in his actions or comments to stay clear of unfortunate and condemnable instances like this," he said.
Describing the incident as "highly condemnable," last week, Jaitley said, "These stray incidents become policy diversions."
Following an announcement that a cow had been slaughtered, made over the loudspeaker in the temple of Bisada village in western Uttar Pradesh on the night of September 28, a Hindu mob broke into the house of Mohammed Ahklaq, a 52-year-old ironsmith, alleging that his family was eating beef.
The brutal beating, carried out by the mob, left Akhlaq dead, and his 22-year-old son, Danish, is presently in a critical condition in a local hospital.
Over the past week, BJP leaders including Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma have sparked public outrage by making insensitive remarks about the brutal assault on Akhlaq: "Just an accident".... "Arrest cow slaughterers instead".... "This happens everyday."
Why responsibility to keep peace and maintain calm is always put on the Hindus alone? Be a victim and maintain silence in face of assaults!!— Tarun Vijay (@Tarunvijay) October 1, 2015
On Monday, the Home Ministry issued an advisory for all states to ensure zero tolerance for those who "attempt to weaken the secular fabric of the nation and exploit religious sentiments," and called for the strictest action against communal violence, without exception.
Speaking to reporters in New York, Jaitley said that such incidents reflect badly on India, NDTV reported, and it is the "duty of all Indians to condemn incidents like Dadri."
Political Blame Game
A steady stream of politicians including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress Party-Vice President Rahul Gandhi have visited Bisada village since the lynching hit the national spotlight, last week.
I m being accused of doing politics. Yes, i am doing politics.But i m doing politics of unity and love. They r doing politics of hatred(1/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) October 3, 2015
It is very sad to see the trust and harmony built over decades, destroyed by the politics of hate— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) October 3, 2015
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept quiet about the lynching in Dadri, the political blame game, especially between the BJP and the ruling Samajwadi Party in U.P., has escalated. The accusations levelled by their leaders is reminiscent of how the deadly religious violence in Muzaffarnagar in September 2013 was politicised.
Once again, both sides are exchanging barbs about creating religious divisions to bolster their vote banks. In 2013, the Hindu-Jat community rallied behind the BJP to protect their "innocent" family members, who, they said, were being targeted by the SP government that wanted to "appease" Muslims.
The BJP swept U.P. during the national elections on SP's home turf in May, 2014. The U.P. State Assembly elections are scheduled for 2017.
Now the families in Bisada village, mostly Rajputs, are accusing SP of arresting innocent Hindu boys to appease Muslims.
BJP lawmaker Sangeet Som, accused of inciting religious tensions ahead of the Muzaffarnagar riots, has warned SP against framing of innocents and appeasing minorities by “helping those who had slaughtered a cow."
Vishal Rana, the main accused, is the 20-year-old son of BJP leader Sanjay Rana, who is reportedly related to seven out of the ten accused.
"It has emerged that the accused had made the announcement on the night of 28 September. He was accompanied by two other men when he did so, excluding the priest," Kiran S, a senior police official supervising the investigation, said on Monday.
Citing an investigator, DNA reported that Danish was hit with a sewing machine.
"While Akhlaq was dragged outside, one of the accused picked up a sewing machine that was lying in the room and hit Danish on the head with it, multiple times," said the investigator.