Lucknow: Amid growing dissent and massive protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) across India which has alarmed the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday claimed that 'tukde tukde gang' were receiving funds from abroad for the campaign which aimed to “divide the country”.
"PM Modi has set the target of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat', but some students of select universities and few film personalities are talking about 'tukde-tukde' (division) of the country under the influence of external forces. They are trying to vitiate the atmosphere in a well-planned way through social media. These campaigns are funded by foreign countries," Rijiju claimed in Lucknow.
Rijiju was addressing the audience on the closing ceremony 23rd National Youth Festival in Lucknow. UP Governor Anandi Ben Patel and UP's deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya was present during Rijiju's speech.
He also advised youths not to pay heed to the 'tukde tukde gang'. “Youths of the country should not pay heed to "anti-national slogans" and put their energy towards the development of the country. Our target should be showing the strength of the country in the 2028 Olympics and make India stand among the top 10 countries in the medal list,” Rijiju urged people.
The audience was perplexed with the Union's minister's allegations though.
“If Rijiju had the information that students and film actors were getting money from abroad to run the CAA campaigns, it is his responsibility to share the info with the government rather than making such allegations in public meetings,” a Lucknow University student who attended the event said requesting anonymity.
Observers called it as 'anxiety' which has gripped the BJP government at the Centre and the State both due to unprecedented agitations over the CAA.
An analyst says, “BJP leaders are known for such lose talks. Besides, prolonged CAA protests have panicked them. That's why they are making wild allegations.”
“The minister is trying to demean the protesters with an aim to divert the people's attention from CAA. Rijiju is part of the Union government. If he knows about the involvement of foreign funds, he should ensure that all such people are in jail,” Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said.