Incidents like the lynching in Dadri, near Delhi, will damage the BJP and the NDA, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, even as he gave a clean chit to the RSS vis-a-vis rising incidents of communal violence.
Parrikar, who was speaking during a public interaction event near Panaji, Goa, also said that some of the incidents were being “blown out of proportion” by vested political interests.
In response to a question about the Dadri episode at the event, Parrikar said late on Sunday, “I think these incidents would actually damage the BJP or the NDA. It also damages the cause or the vision that the prime minister has and, therefore, they cannot be in the interest of the BJP or the NDA or the country.”
Parrikar’s comments come at a time when prime minister Narendra Modi is being publicly questioned for not commenting enough on the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq, 50, by a mob in a Dadri village last month after rumours that he had consumed beef and stored the meat.
Without mentioning any specific incident, Parrikar, a Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, said that sometimes such flare-ups were blown out of proportion.
“Sometimes they are being blown out of proportion. I am not referring to any specific instance, but I [have] found that issues which are local in nature, they are being given national coverage, maybe because some politician wants to make it a national issue,” he said.
When asked about reports allegedly linking the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to communal incidents, Parrikar gave the Hindu right-wing organisation a clean chit and said that he was a “hardcore RSS person”.
While adding that violence in any form by anyone could not be accepted and that the both he and the RSS believed in similar principles, Parrikar said, “I am a hardcore RSS person from childhood; I can assure you that this has nothing to do with RSS.”
Asked to comment on the increasing demand of right-wing Hindu groups for a ban on beef, Parrikar said that a decision on the issue had to be taken “based on various factors, including sensitivity of the subject, health, cruelty to animals, all these aspects will have to be taken into consideration and the government decision has to be fair to everyone”.
Parrikar said, “A solution to the issue should be found while also keeping in mind the sensitivity of the others. Everyone’s opinion will be taken into account. This cannot be decided by discussion in interviews.”