Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has warned those protesting against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), saying that raising of ‘azadi’ slogans will be considered sedition and would merit stringent action.
Addressing a rally in support of the amended citizenship law in Kanpur, UP on January 22, Adityanath said: "I would like to say from India’s soil, and especially from Uttar Pradesh’s soil, that if pro-azadi slogans are raised here in the name of protests, like there used to be in Kashmir, then it will fall in the category of sedition and stringent action will be taken by the government".
Criticising the ongoing protests against the amended citizenship law, Adityanath said that it is "shameful" that men were sitting in the comfort of their homes and had sent women and children out on the streets to agitate.
"These people do not have courage to participate in the protests themselves. They know if they indulge in vandalism, their property will be seized. Now what have they done?” asked Yogi, adding that that they started making women hold sit-in protests.
“The children have been made to sit. It's such a big crime that the men are sleeping under the quilt and the women are made to sit at roads. It is shameful," he said.
At several places, including in New Delhi's Shaheen Bagh and in Lucknow, women have been leading the protest against CAA, alleging that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also claim that the CAA, along with the proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC), is intended to target India’s Muslim community.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to the persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not take away citizenship from anyone.
Some protests in Uttar Pradesh turned violent in December 2019, leading to around 20 deaths. The Adityanath government has cracked down on protesters for allegedly indulging in arson.
The UP government had issued notices to protesters, seeking compensation for the damage they allegedly caused to public property.(With inputs from PTI)