The mob killing of a man in Jharkhand found echo in parliament today as senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad took on the BJP over its "New India" claim. Tabrez Ansari, 24, was tied to a post and beaten for 12 hours after he was accused of stealing a two-wheeler. The police said he died four days later - the family said the police neglected to provide timely treatment.
"Never heard of a "new America", "new China" or "new Britain". There can be a modern India, but no New India. Please give us back the Old India," he said amid cheers and applause from opposition members.
"There was no violence, no lynching... Give us that India where all religions are equal," he added, without explicitly mentioning the incident in Jharkhand, over which two police officers have been suspended. Mr Azad also recalled that in 1988, then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has sacked a general secretary of the Congress when he said something against a community.
Opposition leaders have alleged a communal angle to the death of Tabrez Ansari in BJP-ruled Jharkhand.
After reports of the incident yesterday, Hyderabad politician Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted: "This is the pattern with almost all lynchings. First, a Muslim is murdered by cow lovers. Then the most ridiculous excuses begin: a 'suspicion' of beef possession, theft, smuggling & love jihad. So much for sabka vishwas when we can be killed over mere 'suspicions'."
But Jharkhand minister CP Joshi today said it has become a "trend" to associate such incidents with the BJP, its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and right-wing organisations like VHP and the Bajrang Dal.
"It is a time of 'cut and paste' - who fits what words where is difficult to say," he added.