A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA in Haryana has said those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens can be “wiped out” within an hour.
“Those who are spreading lies [about the citizenship law and NRC], I want to tell them that miya ji, this is not the India of Gandhi or Nehru,” Kaithal MLA Leela Ram Gurjar said at an event in his constituency. “It is the India of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. We will wipe out within an hour if asked to. I want to ask why are you wasting your mental energy on social media and news channels.” The speech’s video clip was shared widely on social media.
Referring to the amended citizenship law, he said there was no conspiracy to make Muslims leave India, reported PTI. “But those who have illegally entered the country will definitely have to go,” he added.
Gurjar told Hindustan Times that he did not want to hurt anybody, and his message was intended for undocumented immigrants and “terrorists” who, he claimed, took advantage of previous Congress governments and entered India. “My statement is being distorted,” the MLA added. “My intention was not against any person and religion but it was against the people who want to cause damage to our country. In my statement I wanted to give a message to the people, who hate our country, that the India has changed now and they will get a befitting reply if they will try to harm its hard earned peace, harmony and social fabric as they did during Congress rule.”
At least 24 people across India have died during protests against the amended citizenship law in the last two weeks. Most number of deaths – 17 – occurred in Uttar Pradesh.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had denied there were any detention camps in India, and claimed that the National Register of Citizens hadn’t been brought up even once since he came to power in 2014. “Has anything happened with the NRC yet?” he asked at a rally in Delhi. “Lies are being spread. After my government came to power, from 2014 to now, let me tell the 130 crore citizens of this country, nowhere has the NRC word been discussed, been talked about. Only when the Supreme Court said, then we had to do it for Assam. What are they talking about? Spreading lies.”
However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is also the BJP president, has repeatedly promised to roll out the NRC exercise across India. Earlier this month, he claimed the Narendra Modi government would identify and remove “each and every infiltrator” from India before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. On Tuesday, Shah claimed there was no link between the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register after the Cabinet approved funds of Rs 3,900 crore to update the NPR, which the Census of India website describes as the first step towards the implementation of a nationwide National Register of Citizens.