Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Thursday vowed to “take revenge” against people who had damaged public property during the protests against the amendments to the Citizenship Act.
“There is no place for violence in a democracy,” said Adityanath, according to PTI. “In the name of opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Congress, SP [Samajwadi Party] and Left parties have pushed the entire country into fire. There was violence in Lucknow and Sambhal and we will deal with it strictly. All property of those involved in damaging public assets will be seized and auctioned to compensate for the losses.”
Observing that those who had damaged properties were caught on CCTV camera footage, the chief minister said the government will “take revenge” on them. “Violence in the name of demonstration is not acceptable,” he added. “I have talked to the officers and will ensure that the common man does not have any problem. We will strictly deal with those involved in violence.”
He added: “The CAA is not against any religion or section of society. It will ensure security and help refugees from other countries.” A spokesperson for the Uttar Pradesh government later told PTI that Adityanath’s remarks were in the context of an SC order about those who damage public assets.
Adityanath said prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure were in place since November 8, and added that protestors cannot hold demonstrations without permission.
Thousands of protestors were detained across the country throughout Thursday as rallies were held in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Ahmedabad and many other cities. At least two deaths were reported from Mangaluru in Karnataka, and one from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh as the police and protestors clashed. However, Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh claimed it was unlikely that the person who died in Lucknow died due to a bullet injury.
Some protests in Uttar Pradesh had also turned violent. Two police outposts were alleged destroyed and several vehicles, including a state government bus and some private vehicles, were set ablaze in Lucknow and Sambhal. Hundreds of protesters, including Samajwadi Party workers and leaders, were detained in Gorakhpur. The police detained over 300 protesters, including former minister Rampal Nishad and former MLAs Mohsin Khan and Vijay Bahadur Yadav.
The Citizenship Amendment Act seeks to provide citizenship to people from six persecuted minority communities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan – but excludes Muslims from its scope. The law, passed by Parliament on December 11, has been decried as anti-Muslim. Protestors in the northeastern states have alleged that it will erode their distinct ethnic identities. Guwahati in Assam was the initial epicentre of the protests but they have since spread out to the rest of the country.