Modi breaks silence on citizenship, lynchings

Opposition questions sincerity of Modi’s assertion that lynching people was an unjustifiable crime

Mohammed Salman, who survived a mob lynching attack which killed his friend Mohammed Azam, is assisted by his mother in a hospital in Hyderabad, last month.

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday addressed the controversial issue of the removal of millions of people from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and said “no citizen of India will have to leave the country.”

The revision of the register has rocked the state of Assam since the publication of its final draft on 30 July, reports in India said. The names of over four million people — a significant proportion of them Muslims — have been excluded from the draft NRC, which is considered by the central government to be official proof of Assamese identity.

In an interview with the ANI media outlet, Modi also spoke on the various incidents of crimes against women and incidents of lynching. “Even a single incident is one too many and deeply unfortunate. Everyone should rise above politics to ensure peace and unity in our society,” he said in the interview.

On the opposition’s accusation that he was silent over such incidents, Modi said, “My party and I have spoken in clear words, on multiple occasions against such actions and such a mindset. It is all on record.”

The opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday questioned the sincerity of Modi’s assertion that lynching people was an unjustifiable crime, asking if that was true how come his Ministers were perceived to be glorifying it.

“The Prime Minister has said that he and his party believe that lynching is wrong. If that is true, then how come Jayant Sinha, who garlanded convicts of lynching, is still a Minister in the Modi government?” AAP leader Sanjay Singh tweeted.

In an interview to the Times of India published on Sunday, Modi said that incidents of mob violence and lynching must be condemned “in the strongest voice”.

“I want to make it clear that mob lynching is a crime, no matter the motive. No person can, under any circumstances, take the law into his or her own hands and commit violence,” he said.

Union Minister of State Union for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had last month garlanded eight men convicted for murder in a lynching case in Hazaribagh in Jharkhand.

The men, convicted by a trial court of killing of one Alimuddin Ansari in Ramgarh in June last year in the name of cow protection, had secured bail from the Jharkhand High Court.

After getting bail, the men visited Sinha’s residence where the Minister welcomed them with garlands and sweets, drawing widespread flak.

— Agencies

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