In the continuing cacophony of voices raised across the country condemning the violent death of a Muslim man in Dadri over suspicion that he slaughtered and consumed a cow, one voice, the most powerful, is conspicuous by its absence. Speaking over a rising chorus of Indians wondering why the nation's Prime Minister is maintaining a steady silence over the brutal Dadri killing, Nitin Gadkari, a minister and BJP old guard, has a simple explanation for it.
It's not the job of the PM to speak on every issue.
"Bole to bole kyun? Nahi bole to kyun nahi bole? (If he speaks, they will ask, 'why did he speak?' If he does not speak, they will say 'why doesn't he speak?') What's this going on?" Road Transport and Highways Minister, Gadkari, told the Economic Times.
"Ab pradhan mantri kya har vishay par bolenge? (Should the PM speak on every single issue?) he asked.
Modi, an enthusiastic tweeter, was caught in a hailstorm of criticism yesterday after he posted a message wishing former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu a speedy recovery. "You are a fighter & will overcome the illness in your trademark style. Our prayers are with you," the PM wrote. Sidhu is undergoing treatment for acute Deep Vein Thrombosis in a Delhi hospital.
Gadkari brushed aside as a "microscopic minority of Left-thinking people" those who are demanding that the PM provide succour to the family of Mohammad Akhlaq and contain the aggressive right wing posturing over the issue. Tensions have run high as political parties have made a beeline for Akhlaq's village, giving incendiary speeches and straining the fragile peace as stunned villagers tried to limp back to normal life.
"This microscopic minority has not been able to digest that Narendra Modi is the prime minister... These people blame Modi for everything," Gadkari said.
The Uttar Pradesh police yesterday stopped Sadhvi Prachi from entering Dadri's Bisada village, prompting the self-styled godwoman from alleging that the UP government is biased against Hindus.
An outfit floated by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath offered all possible help “including guns” to Hindus of the village, claiming that they were being hounded following the lynching of Akhlaq.
Yesterday eminent writers Ashok Vajpeyi and Nayantara Sahgal decided to give up their Sahitya Akademi Awards, an honour bestowed on outstanding literary work in any of the major Indian languages, to protest rising religious intolerance.
In a scathing criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the centre, writer Nayantara Sahgal, who was given the award 29 years ago, said she is giving it up because "there is a vanishing space for diversity to the extent people are being killed for not agreeing with the ruling ideology." Sahgal, 88, the niece of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was referring to the recent murders of rationalists MM Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare by suspected Hindu fundamentalists.