Deaths during anti-CAA protests: If someone comes to die, how can they live, says Yogi Adityanath

Maulshree Seth
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Adityanath was speaking in the UP Assembly

CLAIMING THAT no one had died in police firing during the anti-CAA protests in Lucknow in December and that the deaths were caused by firing from rioters, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said in the state Assembly Wednesday that “koi marne ke liye aa hi raha hai toh zinda kahan se ho jayega (if someone comes to die, how can they live)?”

Adityanath also targeted the Opposition for criticising his government on its crackdown and recovery notices sent for alleged damage to property, saying those who had once ordered firing on “Ram bhakts” in Ayodhya were questioning him on action against rioters.

Replying to the Governor’s address in the Assembly, Adityanath spoke at length about “Ram Rajya” and drew a distinction between the situation in Ayodhya in 1990, when police fired on “Ram bhakts”, and the one in November 2019 after the Supreme court verdict in the temple case.

When Opposition members tried to remind the Chief Minister about Bijnor, where officers had acknowledged that one death occurred due to police firing, Adityanath maintained that “rioters died due to firing by other rioters”.

“There was violence on December 19 and December 20. Police should be appreciated that there was no riot,” said Adityanath. “Aur bhai, koi marne ke liye aa hi raha hai to zinda kahan se ho jayega...lekin police ki goli se koi nahi mara, jo mare hain updravi, updravi ki hi goli se mare hain (If someone comes to die, how can they live? But no one died in police firing, rioters died in firing by rioters only),” he said.

He said that if anyone comes with an illegal firearm to kill an innocent, but is caught by police, then “donon mein se kisi ek ko toh marna hoga (one of the two will have to die)”.

Citing the example of two Dalit leaders during the freedom struggle, Bhim Rao Ambedkar and Jogendra Nath Mandal (who became a minister in the first Pakistan government), Adityanath said that while Ambedkar became popular, Mandal turned out to be a “deshdrohi (traitor)” and decided to go to Pakistan after Partition and had a “gumnami ki maut (unknown death)”.

Ek rashtraputr bankar-ke Bharat Ratna bana, aur ek ne desh ke saath gaddari ki aur gumnam maut mara. Ab tay kar lein kaun kya karna chahta hai (One became the son of the nation and got Bharat Ratna, while the other became a traitor and died an unknown death. Now decide who wants to chose which path),” he said.

The Chief Minister claimed that during the CAA protests, largescale funding by the Popular Front of India (PFI) came to light. He said that all those expressing sympathy for the protesters were doing so for SIMI and PFI, and appealed that no one should become “another Jogendra Mandal”.

Adityanath said he was surprised that when even criminals would not want to see their children turn criminals, “big leaders are sending their daughters amidst those who are raising anti-national slogans”.

He said slogans were being raised in the name of “azadi” and asked, “What kind of azadi?... We will have to see whether we want to fulfil the dreams of Jinnah or those of Mahatma Gandhi.”

Adityanath said that if someone wants to protest in a democratic manner his government would provide them with all freedom and support and security. However, he said, if people try to take law and order in their hands or play with the respect of women in the name of democracy, “woh jis bhasha mein samjhega usko samjhayenge (the response will be in the language they understand)”.