More than week after the infamous Dadri lynching incident, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally broke his silence on the issue during an election rally in Nawada, Bihar, on Thursday. Early last week, Mohamed Ikhlaq was beaten to death by a mob over rumours that he had eaten beef along with his family and had stored the remaining meat in his home.
Several politicians, including members of the BJP, had made a beeline to Dadri to not only meet the victim’s family but also to gain political mileage.
While many had criticised the incident, there were some who made absurd statements about the attack. Most of them were from the BJP.
Opposition and liberal voices criticised the PM for failing to speak on the issue or even restrain his party leaders from making incendiary statements.
Talking about the attack, President Pranab Mukherjee too had driven the point home by talking about the incident during a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Modi, during the rally, cited President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech from a day before, and said:
“Mr. Mukherjee’s message is the best guidance we can get as a nation. We should follow the path shown by the President.”
He then went on to add:
“I have said it earlier too. Hindus should decide whether to fight Muslims or poverty. Muslims have to decide whether to fight Hindus or poverty. Both need to fight poverty together. The country has to stay united, only communal harmony and brotherhood will take the nation forward.”
While it was understood what PM Modi was talking about, his message was still cryptic and the fact thus got him further criticism.
Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted about PM’s speech and questioned him as to why there was no outright condemnation of the Dadri lynching. He tweeted: Former Union Minister R.P.N. Singh too criticised the PM for being cryptic. “The Prime Minister should come forward and speak on it, instead of just condemning it and giving it new twists,” he said.