Activist Saket Gokhale on Monday said the Ministry of Home Affairs told him that it had no information about a “tukde-tukde gang” in India. Gokhale had filed a Right to Information query on the matter.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders often accuse their opponents and dissidents of being members of a “tukde tukde” gang, or a group of people trying to divide India. The BJP started using the phrase after anti-government protests at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in 2016. Responding to the government’s reply, Gokhale said it proved that the gang was merely a figment of Home Minister Amit Shah’s imagination.

Gokhale added that he would urge the Election Commission of India to take cognisance of Shah’s use of the term in political speeches. “Home Minister Amit Shah must explain why he used this term in a rally or he should apologise publicly for lying to the people and misleading them,” the activist added.

On January 6, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar had said there was no “tukde tukde gang” at Jawaharlal Nehru University when he was a student there. Jaishankar made the comment at a book launch in New Delhi, a day after a masked mob attacked the university’s students and teachers, injuring at least 34.

At a rally in Delhi on December 26, Amit Shah had blamed the Congress and the “tukde-tukde gang” for the nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, Muslims are excluded.