New Delhi: After days of the Opposition asking him to break his silence on the lynching of a Muslim man in Jharkhand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday instead questioned the Opposition’s motive in labelling the state as the “hub of lynching”. (Catch PM Modi’s Reply to Motion of Thanks in Rajya Sabha Here)

“The lynching in Jharkhand has pained me. The perpetrators should be given maximum punishment. But some people in the Rajya Sabha are calling Jharkhand a hub of lynching. Is this fair? Why are they insulting a state? None of us has the right to insult Jharkhand,” PM Modi said in his reply to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address in Rajya Sabha.

He said that violence, whether in Jharkhand, West Bengal or Kerala, should be dealt with equally.

Twenty-four-year-old Tabrez Ansari was thrashed for alleged theft on June 18 and a video showed him purportedly being forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman” in Jharkhand’s Saraikela Kharsawan district. He was declared “brought dead” by doctors at the Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, Saturday.

The Opposition had flayed the BJP government in Jharkhand and Chief Minister Raghubar Das and had talked at length about the number of lynchings in the state since the saffron party came to power.

Speaking in Rajya Sabha, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had also said that if this was the “new India” he would rather we had the “old India” where people did not harbour hatred towards each other.

On Tuesday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had termed the alleged lynching as a “blot on humanity” and said the “silence” of powerful voices in the BJP-ruled central and state governments over the incident was shocking.

Meanwhile, 11 people have been arrested in connection with Ansari’s death and a special investigation team (SIT) has been set up to probe the matter.