Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur on Tuesday said only those who say “Bharat Mata ki Jai” can stay in India amid escalating tension in North East Delhi after groups opposing and supporting the new citizenship law clashed over three days, reported The Indian Express. At least 18 people were killed and hundreds injured since Sunday with several attacks on Muslim homes.

“The person who says ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ will stay in India and the one who does not say it, who opposes India, does not respect the Constitution, and repeatedly dishonours it, there is definitely a need to think about them,” Thakur told the media after first sitting of the Vidhan Sabha’s Budget Session. The chief minister added that it was time to “strictly deal” with those who complain too much about the situation in the country. The BJP is in power in Himachal Pradesh.

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“It is up to an individual to say ‘Jai’ or ‘Inquilab’ or ‘Vande Mataram’ – terms which have come out of our freedom movement,” said Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Rakesh Singha. “Is there anything bigger than the Constitution which emphasises our unity in diversity?” He added that politicians such as Thakur were trying to present themselves as desh-premi or patriots but were “only undermining the diversity” of the country and creating debates by allegedly promoting hatred.

Congress’ Himachal Pradesh unit chief Kuldeep Rathore blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party for the situation in Delhi, and accused the party’s leaders of dividing the country on communal lines. He also claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act was introduced to distract people from the country’s economic condition. Rathore called for strict action against those involved in the violence in parts of Delhi.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar area was seen leading a crowd of his supporters chanting the “shoot the traitors” slogan used for anti-Citizenship Act protestors. A video of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Abhay Verma leading a march in the Mangal Bazaar area of Laxmi Nagar started doing the rounds on Tuesday night. Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh questioned the Centre’s intentions of restoring peace in the national Capital.