Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Anurag Thakur on Sunday accused the media of lying by claiming that he exhorted a crowd at a rally to shout “shoot the bloody traitors” slogan, and said they should be better informed, The Hindustan Times reported. Thakur was responding to a query about his inflammatory remarks, and the role it played in inciting violence in North East Delhi at a press conference in Chandigarh.

At least 42 people were killed and over 200 injured in the large-scale communal violence that erupted following clashes between supporters and opponents of the Citizenship Amendment Act in North East Delhi. In some cases, the police have been accused of either inaction or complicity in the violence against the attacks, mostly on Muslim neighbourhoods.

When asked about why he raised the slogan during the campaign for the Delhi Assembly election, Thakur accused a reporter of lying. “You people should first inform yourself,” he said. “Half knowledge and misinformation are dangerous.” He added that he will not elaborate his statement since the matter was subjudice.

In the run-up to the Delhi elections last month, Thakur had exhorted a crowd at a rally to shout “shoot the bloody traitors”. The Election Commission had barred him from campaigning for three days for making the remarks. The commission had ordered the BJP to remove him as a star campaigner.

The Delhi High Court is currently hearing a plea seeking judicial inquiry and lodging of first information reports against Thakur, and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Parvesh Singh Sahib and Kapil Mishra, for allegedly indulging in hate speech and inciting violence in the Capital. On Thursday, the court gave four weeks’ time to the Centre to respond to a plea seeking first information reports against the three leaders for allegedly making incendiary remarks. The order was passed after the Delhi Police made submissions that the situation was “not conducive” to file FIRs in the matter at present.

Speaking about the situation in Delhi, Thakur on Sunday said: “Police is doing its job...Strict action should be taken against those involved in the riots. The strength of our country is that people of various faiths coexist and live unitedly, contributing towards nation building.”