New Delhi, December 19: Ahead of the high-level meeting called by Amit Shah to review the security situation against the backdrop of protests over the citizenship law, his deputy in the home ministry G Kishan Reddy on Thursday lashed out at political parties for their misinformation campaign against the Citizenship Amendment Act and asked students to first read up the law before hitting the streets.
Reddy also struck a conciliatory note over the police’s alleged hard-handed approach in dealing with protests by students at Jamia Millia University over the weekend.
“Delhi Police is (now) not hitting anyone. Nobody (among cops) should use any weapon or lathi against students or protestors,” Kishan Reddy told reporters.
Several opposition parties including the Left had called for nationwide protests on Thursday against the law that enables the government to quickly grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who entered India illegally.
In Delhi, the police clamped down on the entry of people from neighbouring districts, suspended mobile services in parts of the national capital for about five hours and shut down at one point during the day, 20 metro stations.
There have been reports of arson and violence in some states such as Uttar Pradesh.
Kishan Reddy, citing reports received from the states, said the situation across the country is under control. “There have been 2-3 minor incidents in Lucknow,” he said.
“We expect that there will be normalcy in all the states in the next 2-3 days,” he said, asserting that there was nothing in the citizenship law that could be opposed.
On the opposition criticism that the government’s primary intention behind giving citizenship to undocumented hindus from the three countries was to build the ground for going after Muslim migrants under the national register for citizens project, Reddy said this wasn’t true.
“We have nothing on our agenda to send anyone to detention camps or deport them outside. Political parties should not provoke people in the name of religion,” he said.
“I can’t understand why students are protesting…. Keep peace and we are ready to respond to all your questions,” he added.
Still, he said, people were free to protest but “anyone indulging in violence won’t be spared”.
Senior Home Ministry officials said the restrictions in Delhi were designed to check rumour mongering and violence since there were inputs that criminal elements could use the proposed protests to trigger violence.
People have been allowed to protest at Jantar Mantar without getting any permissions. “Anybody is welcome to protest as long as the protest is peaceful,” the official said. (Courtesy: HT)