Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath on Thursday urged Bharatiya Janata Party workers to be on guard against elements who want to incite riots in the state, PTI reported. Adityanath’s advice is related to the state government’s claim that there were attempts to instigate caste and communal violence, in the wake of the gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras district last month.

Adityanath made the remark while addressing a gathering of BJP workers in Bulandshahr through videoconferencing from Lucknow. A bye-election will be held in Bulandshahr on November 3 as the seat fell vacant due to the death of BJP MLA Virendra Singh Sirohi.

“I think Muzaffarnagar riots are not to be forgotten by the people of western Uttar Pradesh and that is why I call upon all of you to be on guard against people who encourage riots,” Adityanath said. “There is a need to expose these anti-development elements.” At least 62 people had died in the riots in Muzaffarnagar in 2013.

Adityanath claimed that at a time the central and state governments were making sure the benefits of developmental schemes reach every citizen without discrimination, some people were misleading others, conspiring and trying to orchestrate caste and communal riots.

The chief minister said that the state government has, over the last three years, fulfilled the promises it made in its manifesto. “The work done under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the coronavirus pandemic proves it,” he added.

Four upper-caste Thakur men had brutally raped and tortured a Dalit woman on September 14. Shesuccumbed to her injuries on September 29. The Uttar Pradesh administration had then hurriedly cremated her body against her family’s wishes while they had been locked inside their home, leading to an outpouring of anger and protests.

Adityanath’s comments on conspiracies

On October 6, Adityanath had alleged that the Opposition was spreading propaganda to destabilise the government over the Hathras gangrape. He said that his political rivals were using the rape to whip up animosity and create a rift among people.

“You must have seen their faces, those who protested against the CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act]; those who, during the corona pandemic, sheltered Tablighi Jamaat to try and spread the disease...who tried to spread anarchy at different levels in the state…not only did the government unmask them but also took steps to counter these elements,” Adityanath said.

On October 5, Adityanath had claimed that the BJP’s political opponents were attempting to conspire against it by “trying to lay a foundation for caste and communal riots through international funding”. The state police have also filed 19 first information reports in Hathras against unidentified persons for allegedly attempting to incite caste-based conflict after the woman’s death last month.