Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally broken his silence on the lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri over rumours that he had eaten beef and cancellation of Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali's concert in Mumbai last week.
Terming the two incidents as "sad", Modi apparently washed off the Centre's hands of these incidents. "Incidents like Dadri and Ghulam Ali are really sad but what is the role of the Centre in these incidents?" Anandabazar Patrika quoted PM Modi as saying, NDTV reported.
He said that the BJP has always been against "pseudo secularism" and has no role in either of the incidents. The Prime Minister has put the blame for the two incidents on the opposition who he accused of playing "politics of polarisation".
"The same debate has happened in the past. The BJP has always opposed pseudo-secularism. Now they are using these sad incidents to revive the debate. The BJP does not support such incidents. The opposition is using these incidents to accuse the BJP of communalism but isn't the opposition playing the politics of polarization?" he said.
Modi said that this "debate can be resolved through dialogue and discussion".
Modi was referring to the incident on the night of 28 September, when one Mohammed Akhlaq was dragged out of his house and beaten to death by a mob after rumours ran wild that his family had killed a calf at their home and consumed its meat.
While many arrested youths had connections with the local BJP leaders or workers, Modi chose to remain silent on the issue, attracting criticism from the opposition parties.
Although Modi expressed his "sadness" over the cancellation of Ghulam Ali's concerts in Mumbai and Pune last week after the organisers were threatened by the Shiv Sena workers, he has not specifically expressed his opinion on the recent row over former Pakistani Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri's book launch in Mumbai.
Shiv Sena had attacked the organiser of Kasuri's book launch on Monday, ahead of the event. The Shiv Sainiks smeared black oil paint on the face of Sudheendra Kulkarani, the organiser, and called him deshdrohi (a traitor).
Instead of condemning the violent act, the Shiv Sena praised its workers for taking the extreme step.
Although LK Advani and BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi condemned the incident, there were no words of condemnation from the Prime Minister.