Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said people involved in lynching incidents and hate crimes cannot call themselves nationalists, adding that a change in societal behaviour was required to prevent such cases, PTI reported on Sunday.

“It is the societal behaviour that has to change...when you kill the other man, how can you call yourself nationalist?” the vice president told the news agency in an interview on Tuesday. “On the basis of religion, on the basis of caste or on the basis of colour, or on the basis of gender, you discriminate. Nationalism, ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ has a wider meaning.”

Such incidents should not be politicised and linked with a party, he said. “This [lynching] is not because of this party or that party,” the vice president added. “The moment you attribute it to these parties, the cause is lost. That is what is happening, let me be very frank.”

The vice president claimed that such incidents used to occur in the past too.

On Friday, the Supreme Court gave all states a week to implement its earlier order laying down guidelines for the central and state governments to prevent incidents of mob lynching. The court had asked Parliament in July to consider creating a new penal provision on the matter, saying that mobocracy cannot be allowed in society.

But legislation alone cannot prevent such incidents, Naidu claimed. “When the Nirbhaya issue came, there was a clamour for Nirbhaya act,” he said, referring to the anti-rape law that was enacted in the aftermath of the gangrape of a young woman in Delhi in December 2012. “Nirbhaya act has come, did they stop? I am not getting into politics, the political parties they have their own way of highlighting it. I [had] said, what is required is not a mere bill, political will, administrative skill, and then go for the kill of the social evil.”