Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had a tough message for those involved in violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Addressing an event on leadership mantra, General Rawat slammed those involved in violent clashes. “Leaders are not those who lead people in an inappropriate direction. As we are witnessing in large number of universities and colleges, students the way they are leading masses and crowds to carry out arson and violence in cities and towns. This is not leadership.” The nation is witnessing widespread protests against the Citizenship Law. Uttar Pradesh is the worst-hit state. Violent clashes have killed 20 people across the nation. As many as 25 districts of Uttar Pradesh are facing internet curbs along with parts of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
The agitation erupted after the Narendra Modi government passed the contentious legislation in Parliament on December 11. Two days later, President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent and making it a law on December 13. The Citizenship Act grants Indian nationality to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis and Sikhs who fled Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan in half the time of other groups if they can argue they suffered religious discrimination in their country of origin.
General Rawat’s statement comes a day after Prime minister Narendra Modi condemned those who were involved in violent clashes and damaged public property. While addressing na event in Lucknow, PM Modi requested people not to destroy public properties. "I request and tell these protesters that if good roads, facilities, and a clean sewerage system is a citizen's right, maintaining them correctly is their responsibility as well," PM Modi said. "They (the vandals) should ask themselves was it right. Whatever was torched, was it not of their child's use? What has happened to those common people and policemen who got injured?" Modi asked. He said he wanted to tell those who damaged public property "not to forget that rights and duties go hand in hand".
Rioters must pay up
Meanwhile, the Rampur administration has issued notices to 28 people “identified for violence” during last week’s anti-citizenship law protests here, asking them to explain their position or pay for damage caused to public and private property, officials said on Wednesday. The notices were issued on Tuesday after damage of nearly Rs 25 lakh was assessed across the district by the police and the administration, they said. Police had initially said that the damage incurred was worth around Rs 15 lakh but the final assessment put the figure at Rs 25 lakh, they added.
“Notices have been issued to 28 people who have been identified for violence during the protests. They have been given seven days’ time to respond why action should not be taken against them, failing which, proceedings will be initiated to recover money from them for destruction of public and private property,” District Magistrate Aunjaneya Singh told PTI.
A 22-year-old man died of a bullet injury here on Saturday during violent protests against the amended Citizenship Act. Several locals and policemen were injured, and six vehicles, including a police motorcycle, were torched, according to officials.
So far 33 people have been arrested and more than 150 identified in connection with the violence in Rampur, the police said. Protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act had broken out in several districts of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, leaving at least 17 people dead and moveable and immoveable assets damaged, mostly in arson.