- PM has often been attacked for spike in incidents of mob violence, rapes
- He said even a single incident is one too many and deeply unfortunate
- NDTV investigations show lynching suspect bragging about the killings
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, often attacked by his critics for a spike in incidents of mob violence and rapes, ripped into his political rivals for their effort to "reduce these incidents" to "mere statistics" and indulge in politics.
"That shows a kind of perverse mindset that looks at violence and criminality as something to be milked, instead of unitedly opposing," PM Modi said in an interview to news agency ANI.
"Even a single incident is one too many and deeply unfortunate.... My party and I have spoken in clear words, on multiple occasions against such actions and such a mindset. It is all on record," PM Modi said.
"Let there be no doubts about the will of my Government to implement the rule of law in its true letter and spirit," he said.
But as an NDTV investigation earlier this month indicated, there is a gap between the stated objective and ground realities.
In two cases, one each in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, two men accused of killing two men on suspicions of cow slaughter were caught on a hidden camera bragging about the killings.
The Supreme Court, which had spoken against "horrendous acts of mobocracy" just days earlier, took note of the investigation and agreed to hear a petition to seek probe by a court-monitored special team into the murder in Uttar Pradesh's Hapur. Central ministers, however, had declined to comment on the sting, arguing that they hadn't seen the news item.
Janata Dal Secular leader Danish Ali said it was wrong to accuse anyone of politics.
"But there is one question.... Why is it that lynching has become so common in the last four years", Danish Ali said, criticising PM Modi of not taking a public stand when one of his ministers, Jayant Sinha, garlanded convicts in a mob violence case after they were released on bail.
PM Narendra Modi's critics, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, have often argued that the Prime Minister doesn't speak when leaders from his party are involved in rapes.
Launching the Congress campaign in Rajasthan a few hours earlier in the day, Mr Gandhi had been unsparing in his attacks on the ruling party at the centre and PM Modi, in particular.
"In UP, a BJP MLA rapes a woman and entire UP BJP tries to protect him. Incidents occurred in Chhattisgarh also but the prime minister does not speak a word," Rahul Gandhi said at the rally.
PM Narendra Modi cited the change in law to make provisions of capital punishment in certain category of crimes against women. "You might have noted that results in terms of quick disposal of such cases leading to even capital punishment have started coming in," he told ANI.