Uttar Pradesh Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma on Sunday claimed that there was an "outsider's role" in the incidences of violence emerging from various districts of the state, amid protests against the amended Citizenship Act (CAA). He pointed out that six people hailing from West Bengal's Malda district, associated with the Popular Front of India (PFI), were arrested by the state police. The Deputy to chief minister Yogi Adityanath blamed the opposition Samajwadi Party for worsening the situation.
Speaking to the reporters in Uttar Pradesh's capital city, Dinesh Sharma said, "There is involvement of the Popular Front of India (PFI). They have a connection with SIMI. Six persons from Malda have been arrested." The Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI is a banned terror outfit. "The state government is capable of handling the situation effectively to ensure peace. We have spoken to Muslim clerics," he added.
"As many as 288 cops have sustained injuries, of which 62 are due to firearms. About 500 empty cartridges of the prohibited bore (bullets) have been found. This indicates that the protestors were using illegal weapons," the deputy chief minister said. The Dy CM of Uttar Pradesh also said that the arrested people have to pay for the damage as per Supreme Court orders. So far, 705 people have been arrested in connection with the violence.
The Deputy Chief Minister accused the Opposition of inciting violence by making "false statements." Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav accused the BJP of bringing in the Citizenship act for "diverting the attention" from the "virtually destroyed" economy of the country and the rising unemployment, which is at a 45 year low. The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister also claimed that Samajwadi Party workers undertook peaceful protests against the CAA "but the government itself gave fuel to violence in order to divert attention from unemployment, corruption and issues pertaining to the youth".
"An SP MLA in Kanpur was seen standing along with the rioters. Instigating innocent people, so that they commit violence, is not appropriate. There are differences in his (Akhilesh Yadav's) family with Aparna Yadav (younger daughter-in-law of Mulayam Singh Yadav) saying that the CAA is good," the Dy CM of Uttar Pradesh said. He also termed as "laughable" the SP chief's remarks that people will have to stand in queue for their rights (due to the National Register of Citizens), as they did during demonetisation.
15 people including an 8-year-old have reportedly lost their lives amid violent protests against the CAA in the state. Clashes broke out in various parts of Uttar Pradesh including--Meerut, Lucknow, Aligarh, Rampur, Kanpur. The government suspended internet services in some areas and even imposed Section 144 of CrPc to curb the agitation.
“879 people have been arrested and preventive action was taken against 5,000 people across the state. 135 criminal cases have been registered so far and 288 police personnel have received injuries. 15 casualties have been reported," Uttar Pradesh DGP OP Singh told ANI. Over 50 shops in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar were sealed after CM Yogi Adityanath openly swore to take "revenge" from the protesters. "They have been captured in video and CCTV footage. We will take "badla (revenge)," the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh said. However, there is no law to seal and auction properties of those guilty over damage to public property through violence.
(With PTI inputs)