PATNA: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Sunday vowed tough action against “sponsored” protests in view of the Citizenship Amendment Act and proposed nationwide NRC, which he claimed were being supported by the “tukde tukde gang” and “urban naxals”.
Addressing a press conference here, Prasad who holds the portfolio of law and justice accused the Congress of hypocrisy and adopting double standards for “vote bank politics” on the issue, even as he dismissed suggestions for wider consultation within the NDA over the matter.
“We are in touch with the top leadership of all NDA constituents. What party spokespersons say is not of much consequence,” Prasad said. He was replying to a query about a statement by K C Tyagi, general secretary and chief spokesperson of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), who had advocated a meeting of the BJP-led coalition over NRC.
Without naming anybody, Prasad took exception to statements by several chief ministers, including Kumar, who have announced that NRC will not be implemented in their respective states. “Is this how a country can be run? Let things not come to a pass when states might start thwarting legal action against a criminal taking shelter after having committed offence elsewhere,” the minister said.
Coming down heavily on the Congress, the senior BJP leader recounted Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka having been granted citizenship during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure, and how the same favour was extended, earlier, to “Hindus” driven out of Idi Amin’s Yuganda and those persecuted by Pakistani military during the Bangladesh Liberation War.
“As recently as in 2003, the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had advocated granting citizenship to persecuted minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Letters were written to him endorsing the same by the then Rajasthan and Assam Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot and Tarun Gogoi,” Prasad said.
“So, precisely, it all boils down to Congress being okay with steps taken or stance adopted by its own leaders but has a problem when the same is done by PM Narendra Modi. Rahul Gandhi is tossing questions at the government. Why does he not do some home-work and question his own party leaders instead?
“I would like to also pose a question to Congress and its allies like the RJD, which displayed its fascist traits and scant respect for Constitution during the lawless bandh yesterday, during which even journalists were assaulted. The question is, whether they support the violence that is taking place across the country,” the minister said.
Terming the protests as “sponsored”, Prasad parried questions as to whom he suspected of being behind the violence that has been taking place across many states in the country.
“The police is doing its job. Those lobbing petrol bombs and setting buses on fire are certainly not innocent civilians. Tukde tukde gang and urban naxals have come out in their support. At a recent demonstration in Mumbai, the crowd menacingly kept chanting azadi, azadi,” he said.
Prasad, who represents Patna Sahib in the Lok Sabha, said “those believing in the philosophy of ‘Bharat tere tukde honge’ will be dealt with sternly”.
On Kumar’s recent letter to PM Modi seeking an effective ban on porn sites, the minister said: “The Bihar CM has raised a point with which most people would agree. I have asked my department to take the matter seriously. The problem though is of the nature of the digital world. No sooner than one site is banned, a new site pops up out of nowhere.”
Kumar had blamed porn sites for the rising incidence of crimes against women. PTI