Eight days after a mob lynched a Muslim man following rumours that he ate beef, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday warned that threats to the country’s secular fabric won’t be tolerated.
However, according to sources, a report on the incident sent by the Uttar Pradesh government to the union home ministry does not mention ‘murder’ as one of the charges, and said “slaughter of a banned animal” was the reason behind the attack.
On September 28 in a village in Greater Noida, near the national capital, a mob dragged 50-year-old Mohammed Akhlaq out of his home and lynched him saying he ate beef. His family denied the allegation. His 21-year-old son Danish was left critically injured and is now recuperating in hospital.
The home ministry had on Monday expressed concern over incidents with communal overtones, and directed state governments to act strictly against elements seeking to exploit religious sentiments.
Rajnath Singh, responding to questions on the sidelines of a function here, said his ministry would look into the Uttar Pradesh government’s report on the lynching.
“Any threat to the secular fabric of the country will not be tolerated. It is the duty of every citizen to maintain social harmony and I appeal to people to uphold this,” Singh said.
In New York, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told NDTV that such incidents affect the country’s image and “amount to policy diversions”.
“India is a mature society. We have to rise above these incidents because they certainly don’t bring a good name as far as the country is concerned.
“And I have also said that they can amount to policy diversions.”
Jaitley said it was the duty of every Indian, “in his actions or comments, to stay clear of unfortunate or condemnable incidents of this kind”.
The report, which was sent to the union home ministry on Monday night, mentions that Uttar Pradesh Police registered a first information report (FIR) on charges of attempt to murder, rioting, unlawful assembly of people, punishment for voluntarily causing hurt, breach of peace, criminal intimidation and house trespass, the sources said.
However, section 302 of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to murder was not mentioned, the sources said.
The report says eight out of 10 people involved in the incident have been arrested.
Meanwhile, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi opposed Uttar Pradesh minister and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s move to take the lynching incident to the United Nations.
He said in Hyderabad that if Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav supports Khan’s move, the government in Uttar Pradesh should resign and President’s Rule be imposed.
The Hyderabad MP said the incident was an internal matter of India and Muslims can never fight against their own country.
Reacting to Jaitley’s statement that Dadri like incidents hurt India’s image, he said the question was not of image but of “our morals and moral duty”.
The Aam Aadmi Party, meanwhile, asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end his silence over the incident.
AAP leader Ashutosh slammed Modi and also sought action against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders for their “provocative” remarks.
“Today is the eighth day of the Dadri incident, the prime minister has not spoken. Nation does not know what he feels and is he against such incidents?” he tweeted.
The AAP leader said no religion can have the permission to shatter the nation’s trust.