NEW DELHI -- While several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders make outrageous remarks about the lynching of Muslim man, accused of slaughtering a cow by a Hindu mob in Bisada village, Uttar Pradesh, 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," he told reporters following a lecture at Columbia University in New York on Monday, 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 on the night of September 28, a Hindu mob broke into the house of Mohammad Ahklaq, a 52-year-old Muslim ironsmith, alleging that his family was eating beef.
The brutal beating, carried out by the mob, let 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 has sparked public outrage by making insensitive remarks about the lynching of the Muslim man: "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
Speaking to reporters in New York, Jaitley said that such incidents reflect badly on India, NDTV reported, and it the "duty of all Indians to condemn incidents like Dadri."
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept quiet about the brutal assault on Akhlaq, the political blame game, especially between the BJP and the ruling Samajwadi Party in U.P. has escalated. The accusations levelled by the parties are 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 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. The U.P. State Assembly elections are scheduled for 2017.
Now, the Hindu-Rajput families of the nine men arrested for Akhlaq's death are accusing SP of targeting their "innocent sons."
Sangeet Som, a BJP lawmaker in UP, who is accused of inciting religious tensions ahead of the Muzaffarnagar riots, has accused SP of attempting to appease minorities by “helping those who had slaughtered a cow”, and he warned against framing of innocents.
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," said Kiran S, a senior police official supervising the investigation, said on Monday.