India’s Modi calls Muslim’s murder over beef ‘unfortunate’
Modi accused the opposition of trying to stir up controversy over the incident in which Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged from his home and beaten to death
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence on Wednesday over the lynching of a Muslim man suspected of eating beef, calling it “unfortunate”, after criticism over his failure to speak out.
Modi accused the opposition of trying to stir up controversy over the incident last month in which Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged from his home and beaten to death over rumors he had eaten beef.
Cows are considered sacred by Hindus, and beef eating has become a highly contentious issue since Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power, with several states banning the practice.
The attack in the northern town of Dadri on the outskirts of India’s capital came against a background of growing concern over the influence of Hindu nationalist groups.
“The BJP has never supported such acts. The opposition is trying to level charges of communalism against the BJP, but in doing so, they are themselves indulging in the politics of polarisation,” Modi told the Ananda Bazar Patrika daily.
Modi has repeatedly appealed for religious unity in India, but critics say his failure to condemn such attacks is emboldening the Hindu right and encouraging intolerance towards Muslims and other religious minorities.