Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat. (Express photo: Praveen Khanna/File)
A day after a group of people, including women, started a dharna against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Haldwani town of Uttarakhand’s Nainital district, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Thursday said the state government has inputs that some people from Jamia Millia Islamia and Kashmir have come to the state and the government will take action if “outsiders provoke local people”.
“I have received feedback that some people from Jamia Millia and Kashmir have come here and I want to warn them...If somebody stages a dharna in a democratic manner, then that is his right. But if outsiders come here and provoke people, then we will have to act tough,” Rawat told mediapersons when asked about the dharna. The Chief Minister said officials have been directed to keep an eye on such people and take appropriate action.
The state BJP unit backed the CM’s remark. The party’s state media in-charge Devendra Bhasin said in a statement that the protest in Haldwani is a “conspiracy” to malign the image of the BJP government and create disturbance. “Outsiders are involved in the dharna started in Haldwani and some of them are from Jamia Millia and Kashmir. This dharna indicates that tukde-tukde gang has become active in Uttarakhand. But the conspiracy of such elements will not be successful,” the statement said. “BJP stands in support of CM Trivendra Singh Rawat’s remark in which he has asserted strict action against elements trying to create disturbance under the guise of dharna.”
A police officer said there are inputs about the presence of a local youth, who is associated with Jamia Millia, and another person who is apparently from Bareilly and has links with Aligarh Muslim University, in that dharna. DG (Law and Order) Ashok Kumar said district police has been asked to verify details of those people.
Responding to the Chief Minister’s statement, J&K Students’ Association, a body of Kashmiri students, urged him to ensure the safety and security of Kashmiri students instead of issuing “provocative statements”. In a statement, JKSA spokesperson Nasir Khuehami said, “Uttarakhand CM should immediately take back his statement. The way he is behaving is totally condemnable.”