Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Anurag Thakur on Monday alleged that there was a “conspiracy” behind the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act, saying it was aimed at “tarnishing” the image of India, PTI reported. In the run-up to the Delhi elections last month, the minister had exhorted a crowd at a rally to shout “shoot the bloody traitors”, and later accused the media of lying.

His comments came after 53 people died in large-scale communal violence when clashes broke out in North East Delhi February 23 between supporters of the Citizenship Act and those opposing it.

“Minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh were being tortured and therefore, the Citizenship Amendment Act was enacted to grant Indian citizenship to them,” Thakur said at a programme in Chhattisgarh. “Earlier, the Congress had also said that minorities of these countries will be given citizenship of India. But the Congress says something and does something.”

The minister accused the Congress of doing politics of vote bank and appeasement, adding that Opposition parties were “adding fuel to fire and spoiling the atmosphere of the country”.

Thakur also claimed that a section of the media “mislead” people about the citizenship law. “Why there is protest when the new law was actually enacted to grant citizenship and not to snatch it,” he asked. “Some people have hatched a conspiracy to tarnish the image of the country.”

He said people of all religion are equal and that the country belong to all of them. “But it is the Opposition which has spread fear and tried to divide the country,” the BJP leader added.

Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act have been underway across the country for months now. The amendments, notified on January 10, provide 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.

Yes Bank

About the Yes Bank crisis, Thakur said the Narendra Modi government will not tolerate corruption. He said that the government has asked for information from the Reserve Bank of India and that with it would come several revelations. Earlier in the day, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday issued a lookout circular against Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor and his family, who are accused of receiving Rs 600 crore in kickbacks from Dewan Housing and Finance Limited.

“I want to assure all Yes Bank depositors that their money is safe,” he added. “We have sought a report from the Reserve Bank into the matter. The CBI and ED have initiated action against the promoter of the bank and his relatives.”

He also accused Opposition of spreading lies about the matter for politics. “By doing this, they are causing harm to the country and its people,” Thakur said.

The Reserve Bank of India had last week taken control of Yes Bank, after the lender – which is laden with bad debts – failed to raise the capital it needs to stay above mandated regulatory requirements. Placing Yes Bank under a 30-day moratorium, the central bank had imposed a limit of Rs 50,000 on withdrawals to protect depositors.

A court in Mumbai remanded Rana Kapoor to the Enforcement Directorate’s custody till March 11. He was arrested around 3 am on Sunday under the provision of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act as he was reportedly not cooperating in the investigation.