Amid the violent protests in Uttar Pradesh against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma on Sunday addressed a press conference in Lucknow. He slammed the Opposition parties especially the Samajwadi Party for inciting violence in the state. He also alleged "outsiders' role" in the incidents of violence. Dinesh Sharma said, "I want to ask the President (Akhilesh Yadav) of the Samajwadi Party, what problem do you have regarding the Citizenship (Amendment ) Act, 2019?"
The UP Deputy CM added, "I was listening to his press conference, he was saying that for NRC, people have to stand in queues. You are opposing the CAA and protesting against it but taking about NRC. This law won't take away anything from anyone. It is only about giving rights to the ones who were deprived of their rights. No rights of our Muslim brothers will be taken away from them. The Opposition is inciting people by making false statements. In Sambhal and Kanpur, SP MLAs were seen standing with miscreants. The opposition is shirking from its responsibilities."
He alleged "outsiders' role" in the incidents of violence reported from various districts of the state where protests took place against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. He pointed out that six persons hailing from West Bengal's Malda district, associated with the PFI, had been arrested by the state police. Sharma said, "There is involvement of Popular Front of India (PFI). They have a connection with SIMI. Six persons from Malda have been arrested." Students Islamic Movement of India or SIMI is a banned terror outfit.
He added, "The state government is capable of handling the situation effectively to ensure peace. We have spoken to Muslim clerics. 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." Sharma also said that the arrested persons have to pay for the damage as per Supreme Court orders. So far, 705 persons have been arrested in connection with the violence.
Violence during protests in Uttar Pradesh has so far claimed 16 lives, while large-scale vandalism and disruption of rail and road traffic were witnessed in Bihar during a bandh called by the RJD on Saturday. In Kanpur, protesters set fire to a police post. In Rampur, protesters broke barricades and threw stones at the police, who responded with batons and tear gas. In Delhi, prohibitory orders were issued in areas around the Uttar Pradesh Bhavan. Protests are continuing at Jamia for the seventh straight day since Sunday's violence. Fifteen people have been arrested in connection to Friday's clashes in Old Delhi, in which more than 35 people were injured.
(With PTI inputs)