Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Monday evening issued another warning of punishment after Priyanka Gandhi lashed out at the state police for cracking down on people protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Congress leader demanded a judicial inquiry into the “unlawful conduct” of the force.
“Anyone interrupting a sanyasi’s continuous efforts for public welfare will be punished,” the chief minister’s office tweeted. “Those who inherited politics and practice politics of appeasement would hardly understand the concept of service.” It used the hashtag “BhagwameinLokKalyan (public welfare in saffron)” for the tweets.
In another tweet, the chief minister’s office said Adityanath wears saffron clothes for public service. “He not only wears saffron but also represents it,” said the office. “The saffron clothes are for public welfare and nation-building and Yogi ji walks on that path.”
At a press conference in Lucknow on Monday afternoon, the Congress leader said there was no place for violence, revenge and resentment in India, referring to Chief Minister Adityanath’s statement that his government would “take revenge” against protestors. “Saffron denotes Hinduism and does not reflect revenge or violence,” she said, referring to the colour of the chief minister’s robes.
Adityanath had warned that people involved in vandalism would have their properties confiscated and auctioned. “This is the first time in history of India that a chief minister has said that revenge will be taken from the people,” Gandhi said.
BJP leader and Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma was the first to criticise Gandhi’s comments, and accused her of supporting “those who threw stones”. “Today, she has forgotten that in the name of appeasing the minorities, she is supporting the rioters, people who pelted stones, damaged public property and rained bullets, from whom bullets and revolvers were seized,” Sharma had said.
At least 19 people have been killed in the state in the past two weeks during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The police have been accused of excesses, with 15 of the 19 deaths caused by firearm injuries. The police in Bijnor district are accused of torturing five minors and other detainees.