Bharatiya Janata Party National Secretary Tarun Chugh on Wednesday defended the idea of “shooting traitors”, and referred to the Shaheen Bagh protestors of Delhi as an “Islamic State-like module”. He referred to the locality as “Shaitaan Bagh”, or the devil’s place. This was the latest in a series of verbal attacks by BJP leaders on the women-led protest ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections next week.
“We will not allow anyone to break India’s integrity,” Chugh posted on Twitter in Hindi. “Shaheen Bagh means Shaitaan Bagh. They are implementing the same module with which the Islamic State used women and children. Hafiz Saeed’s ideology will not be tolerated in India.”
In a tweet in English, Chugh said: “We will not let Delhi become Syria and allow them to run an ISIS-like module here, where women and kids are used. They are trying to create fear in the minds of people of Delhi by blocking the main route. We will not let this happen. (We will not let Delhi burn).”
The first tweet also said that the slogan “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko” was not wrong. The slogan, which includes a Hindi expletive for “traitors” and suggests shooting them, was used at a rally led by Union minister and BJP leader Anurag Thakur on Monday. Addressing a rally in support of a BJP candidate, Thakur was heard shouting the first part of the slogan, and the crowd responded with the second part. The Election Commission has ordered the party to remove Thakur from its list of star campaigners for the Delhi Assembly elections for violating election guidelines.
The reference to “traitors” is for those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Hundreds of women and children have been leading peaceful protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens at Shaheen Bagh for almost a month and a half. The citizenship law has been widely criticised as discriminatory and Indian Muslims fear it could be used with the NRC to harass and disenfranchise them.
Elections in Delhi will be held on February 8 and results will be declared three days later.
Another BJP leader, parliamentarian Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma, was also censured by the Election Commission for warning voters in Delhi that “lakhs of protestors” gathering in Shaheen Bagh to demonstrate against the citizenship law would enter their homes to “rape their sisters and daughters and kill them”.