Union minister Sanjeev Balyan on Wednesday said the “right cure” for students of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia University was to reserve 10% seats for people from western Uttar Pradesh, ANI reported.

“I request [Defence Minister] Rajnath Singhji,” Balyan said at a public rally in support of the amended citizenship law in Meerut. “Those at JNU and Jamia who shout anti-national slogans, there is only one cure for them. Have 10% quota from western UP...everyone will be cured and nothing else will be needed.”

Both the universities have witnessed violence in recent weeks. Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have often accused students of JNU of shouting anti-national slogans during protests.

On December 15, violence had broken out near Jamia Millia Islamia after an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest march by students ended in a pitched battle with the police. Buses were set on fire, and several students and police officers were injured. The police were accused of using excessive force against students inside the campus.

A mob allegedly comprising Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members armed with sticks and hammers is believed to have carried out an attack at JNU on January 5 during a protest against a proposed hostel fee hike. Thirty-four people were injured. The outfit is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing. Several eye-witness accounts and videos indicated that in most places, police personnel present at JNU did almost nothing to stop the violence, and, in fact, allowed the attackers to exit the university without apprehending them.

The Citizenship Amendment Act provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, leading to protests against it. At least 26 people have died in the protests – 19 in Uttar Pradesh, five in Assam and two in Karnataka.

Balyan, the minister of state for animal husbandry, fisheries and dairying, is known to make controversial comments. In December, he stirred a controversy by suggesting that “children from Madrasas” had a role in violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader is an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots cases. Around 62 people were killed when communal clashes broke out in the Uttar Pradesh district between August and September that year.