New York: A week after a mob killed a Muslim man over rumours that he had beef in his house in Uttar Pradesh's Dadri, senior union minister Arun Jaitley has said that such incidents affect the country's image and "amount to policy diversions."
Speaking to NDTV in New York, Mr Jaitley said: "India is a mature society. We have to rise above these incidents because they certainly don't bring a good name as far as country is concerned. And I have also said that they can amount to policy diversions."
The Finance Minister also said it was the responsibility of every Indian, "in his actions or comments, to stay clear of unfortunate or condemnable incidents of this kind."
Last Monday, 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged out of his house in village Bisada and beaten to death by a mob that also thrashed his son Danish, leaving him critically wounded. The mob had been instigated allegedly by young men linked to local BJP leader Sanjay Rana; one of the accused is his son Vishal.
Opposition parties have targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what they call his silence on the incident. The BJP has been facing condemnation after its controversial lawmaker Sangeet Som, charged with inciting riots in Muzaffarnagar in 2013, visited the Bisada village and vowed to help the accused, describing Akhlaq's family as "cow-killers".
On Monday, the home ministry, in an advisory to all states, said there would be "zero tolerance" for incidents that "attempt to weaken the secular fabric of the nation and exploit religious sentiments".
Mentioning the Dadri lynching, the advisory said the states should "take strictest action as per law... without any exception".
The ministry has also asked for a report from Uttar Pradesh's Akhilesh Yadav government on the mob killing, and asked it to make sure such incidents do not recur.