Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday condemned the violence in Uttar Pradesh during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, saying that those who destroyed public property and were involved in violence should “introspect” about whether what they did was right, the Hindustan Times reported.
“I want to ask people who resorted to violence in Uttar Pradesh to sit at home and ask themselves whether what they did is good or not,” Modi said at the foundation laying ceremony of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical University in Lucknow, NDTV reported. “They destroyed buses and public property that belongs to their children.”
Modi said that everybody in the country has the right to a safe environment, but people also have a duty to respect the law and order machinery. The prime minister claimed that the Uttar Pradesh police had done a good job during the protests.
“I want to request the youth of UP and every other individual, now that we are heading towards 75 years after independence, the time has come when we must look at our responsibilities,” Modi said. “I request and tell these [violent] protesters that if good roads, facilities, and a clean sewerage system is a citizen’s right, maintaining them correctly is their responsibility as well.”
Modi wondered what had happened to those people and policemen who were injured in the violence, PTI reported.
The prime minister added that matters like the Ram temple in Ayodhya and Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir have been resolved peacefully, ANI reported. “The way to give citizenship to refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan has been cleared,” he added. Modi claimed that 130 crore Indians have found the solutions to such problems peacefully.
“How old a disease was Article 370?” Modi said, according to PTI. “How difficult it appeared. But it was our responsibility as to how to face such difficult challenges. And, it was done easily.”
The Supreme Court had in November cleared the decks for the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, by assigning the responsibility of such an endeavour to a trust to be formed by the government. Earlier in August, the Centre had revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and had imposed a curfew in the state.
At least 17 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh, and 24 in the country, over the past two weeks during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. A media report said on Wednesday that the police in Uttar Pradesh’s Bijnor had detained at least five minors last week, and tortured them for 48 hours.
Later in the day, Sambhal Superintendent of Police Yamuna Prasad said that 55 persons have been identified and posters are being released for the identification of 150 people who were allegedly involved in violence in the town, ANI reported. Meanwhile, Meerut District Magistrate Anil Dhingra said that notices have been issued to 517 arms licence holders and 148 people named in a first information report, to compensate damages caused during protests in the district.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11 and signed into law by President Ram Nath Kovind the following day, provides Indian citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have entered the country on or before December 31, 2014. However, it excludes Muslims from its scope, which has led to the Act being labelled anti-Muslim and unconstitutional.