Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the lynching of a Muslim youth by a mob in Jharkhand had “pained” him but called it unfair to blame the entire state for it.

This is the first time that Modi had mentioned the crime, which happened a week ago.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, he unleashed a stinging attack on the Congress for describing Jharkhand as the “factory of mob lynching” and said: “no one had the right to insult a state”.

“The lynching in Jharkhand has pained me. It has saddened others too. But, some here in the Rajya Sabha are calling Jharkhand a hub of lynching. Is this fair? Why are they insulting a whole state? None of us has the right to insult the state of Jharkhand,” PM Modi said in Parliament.

Modi further said irrespective of whether such a killing takes place in Jharkhand or Kerala or West Bengal, the country should have a common stand. “Only then we will be able to halt the violence and those indulging in violence will be punished.”

On Tuesday, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Jharkhand had become a “factory of lynching and violence with Dalits and Muslims getting killed every week”.

In a taunting tone, he further requested Modi to keep the “New India” to himself and give the people “Old India where there was love and mutual respect”.

“In Old India, there was no hatred, anger or lynching. New India is one where humans are enemies of each other. You won’t be scared of animals in a jungle but you will be scared of humans in a colony. Give us the India where Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians live for each other,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said in Rajya Sabha.

Tabrez Ansari, 22, died in a hospital on Sunday, days after he was brutally thrashed by a mob at Dhatkidih village in Seraikela district on suspicion of stealing a bike.

Reacting to the taunt, Modi said Azad has “blurred vision” and therefore “he is seeing everything from a political point of view”.

He further slammed the Congress for the return of “Old India”.

“Now they are slamming New India. Do they want old India back? Old India where cabinet decisions were torn in press meets; old India where Navy was used for personal trips; old India where numerous scams existed; old India which supported tukde tukde gang?”

Further sharpening his attack, Modi said the Congress “was not able to digest victory and has not been able to accept defeat”. This is not a healthy sign in a democracy, he added.

Meanwhile, PM Modi termed the deaths in Bihar due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome as “unfortunate”. He said he was in constant touch with the state government and expressed hope that the country will come out of the crisis soon.

He further took the opportunity to assert the importance of the Centre’s healthcare scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat’.

“The need of the hour is to strengthen Ayushman Bharat. We want our poor to get the best quality and affordable medical treatment,” he said.

Although Prime Minister Modi launched a blistering attack on Congress over several issues, he also sought the opposition’s support to make India a $5 trillion economy.