Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya on Friday said that before the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in the state in 2017, people from a particular community used to threaten traders and encroach on their land, ANI reported.

“Before 2017, how many lungi-chhaap [lungi-clad] goons used to roam here?” he said. “Who used to wear jaalidar topi [netted cap] and threaten the traders while carrying guns? Who used to encroach upon your land and threaten you to not go to the police? Remember all this.”

Lungi and netted cap, commonly known as topi, is a part of the attire worn by several Muslim men.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have been making such communal comments ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. In September, Chief Minister Adityanath said that only those people who used to say “Abba jaan” – a term commonly used by Muslims to address their fathers – would get ration before the saffron party came to power in the state.

On Friday, Maurya also accused the Samajwadi Party of protecting criminals who allegedly threatened and intimidated businessmen and traders before 2017, NDTV reported.

“These criminals used to capture lands of businessmen and threaten them,” he claimed. “The things that I am saying have all occurred.”