Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday said slogans like “Jai Shri Ram” can be chanted by embracing people and not by throttling them, PTI reported. Naqvi’s comments are in reference to the mob attack on 24-year-old Tabrej Ansari in Jharkhand. According to the FIR, the mob had forced Ansari to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman”.

Tabrej Ansari was caught in Dhaktidih village in Seraikela-Kharsawan district while allegedly attempting to steal a motorcycle on June 18. He was reportedly tied to a pole and beaten for 12 hours by a mob. The police took Ansari into custody and produced him in a court that sent him to judicial remand. According to the police, Ansari fell ill on June 22 and was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Videos of the assault soon spread on social media. Ansari’s family approached the police with the videos after his death, based on which an FIR was filed. Eleven people were arrested in connection with the case and the Special Investigation Team has been asked to submit its report to the home secretary and the chief secretary by Wednesday.

“Jai Shri Ram can be chanted by embracing people and not after throttling them,” said Naqvi during a programme in Delhi, according to PTI. “Such incidents cannot be justified. We have committed that we won’t let the destructive agenda dominate the development agenda. People who are involved in such incidents have only one motive – to spoil the positive atmosphere created by the government.”

Naqvi, however, said there were isolated cases. “We are completely against them,” he said, asserting that stern action should be taken against people who commit such heinous crimes.

Earlier in the day, Nationalist Congress Party MP Majeed Memon attacked the Centre over incidents of lynching. “With all humility and respect I am asking from the prime minister how can the government win the trust of Muslim youth when Tabrej [a youth from Jharkhand] was mercilessly beaten and forced to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Jai Hanuman,” he questioned in Parliament.

On Monday, Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had said that Jharkhand had become a lynching factory where Muslims and Dalits were being attacked or lynched regularly. Addressing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that the Congress was with him in the fight for “Sabka saath sabka vikas”, but it was nowhere to be seen.

Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi had also said there was a pattern in most lynchings. He alleged that the BJP and RSS have increased a sense of hatred against Muslims. “They [BJP, RSS] have successfully created a mindset where Muslims are seen as terrorists, anti-nationals and cow slaughters,” he had said.