Ahead of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Adityanath on Monday visited Kairana in the western part of the state and promised compensation and security to some families who were allegedly forced to leave the town between 2014 and 2016, PTI reported.

Before the 2017 Assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party had alleged that Hindu families were forced to migrate from the area due to threats and extortion by “criminal elements belonging to a particular community”. Kairana has a 50% Muslim population.

However, an investigation by the National Human Rights Commission in 2016 had found that people were migrating from Kairana because of the worsening law and order situation and increase in criminal activities.

The saffron party had used the alleged exodus of Hindus from Kairana extensively in its campaign for the 2017 elections.

On Monday, Adityanath said those with “Taliban mentality” will not be accepted in Uttar Pradesh.

“The criminals who had forced the traders and residents of Kairana to flee had in the past four-and-half-years been forced to flee themselves,” he claimed at a public meeting. “No criminal has the courage to walk with his head held high. And if a criminal dares to shoot a trader or a citizen, then the bullet will hit him and will send him to the next world.”

The chief minister met those who reportedly returned to Kairana after the BJP government was elected to power in 2017.

“I have sought a report from the district administration about the families which were harmed and their members killed here under the previous Samajwadi Party regime,” Adityanath said.

When asked if he was resorting to religion-based politics ahead of the polls, Adityanath claimed that it was his responsibility to meet “victims”, The Economic Times reported. He added that it was not a crime for him to meet them just because they were Hindus.

The BJP leader said the state government will provide compensation to the “victims” so that they could revive their businesses.