New Delhi: As agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) continue to spread across India, government functionaries have refused to listen to any of the protestors. Rather, prominent leaders like UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath or his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya have sought to back the state police’s brutal crackdown on protests, and even their communal slurs.
Two days after a video emerged of a senior police officer in the Meerut district telling some anti-CAA protesters to “go to Pakistan”, Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that the remark was “not wrong” as it was not meant for “all Muslims”.
The superintendent of police (city) Akhilesh N. Singh did not dispute the authenticity of the video and alleged that “anti-social elements were making pro-Pakistan statements”.
Speaking to ANI, Maurya said, “He did not say it for all Muslims but probably to those who were raising pro-Pakistan slogans while pelting stones. For anyone involved in such activities, SP city’s statement is not wrong.”
Similarly, Union ministers like Dharmendra Pradhan and Giriraj Singh have chosen to completely turn a blind eye to the largely peaceful protests by issuing provocative statements that appear to be made with an intention to polarise opinion on the CAA-NRC issue.
On Saturday at a function of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad in Pune, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, lashed out at those opposing the National Register of Citizens, asking whether they wanted the country to become a ‘Dharam Shala’
Pradhan said that people like Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country. “Are we going to make our country a Dharam Shala now where anyone can roam freely?” he asked.
“Therefore, we need to accept this challenge and we should make sure that only those who are ready to say Bharat Mata Ki Jai can live here,” the BJP leader said.
On the other hand, Union minister Giriraj Singh, at a press conference on Saturday, said that the Congress, opposition and members of the “tukde-tukde gang” are creating confusion about the new citizenship law in the country.
“Today the country is being misled due to the double standards and behaviour of the Congress,” Singh said and added that the Congress did not see the persecution of non-Muslim minorities because of its “vote bank politics”.
Singh said that former PM Indira Gandhi in 1971 had said that India cannot bear the burden of “infiltrators”. “Indira Gandhi said in 1971 that we cannot bear the burden of infiltrators… but she was not able to either bring in a Citizenship Act or to throw out (infiltrators) because she surrendered to Muslim fundamentalists,” Singh said.
On Saturday, referring to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and NRC, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, during the inauguration and foundation stone laying ceremony of 20 projects in Gorakhpur, spoke of strictness against damage to public property and said that the loss of public property would be compensated on a top priority.
“Public property does not belong to any government or any person. Its safety is the responsibility of all of us. We saw how public property was set on fire. This is a warning for all of us. We will have to make students, scholars and scholars of colleges, universities, technical institutions aware of this law,” he said.
‘The citizenship law is a law to give citizenship to people who have taken refuge in India after being tortured in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan. Despite this, misleading attempts in the name of citizenship law, arson, sabotage and street violence will not be allowed to succeed. Therefore, the government decided that if you put your hands on public property, then you will have to compensate it. Compensation of public property has started on a priority basis,” Adityanath said.
“Those who refuse to mend their ways, I want to tell them, wherever they want to go, we will make them go there,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)