Union Home Minister Amit Shah once again raised the bogey of protests at Shaheen Bagh on Thursday, during a rally in Chhatarpur in New Delhi on Thursday.
“On February 8, you will be deciding who should form the government in Delhi,” Shah told the audience, The Indian Express reported. “On the one side it’s Narendra Modi, who conducted airstrikes and surgical strikes on Pakistan’s soil to kill terrorists, and on the other, there are these people who back Shaheen Bagh [the ruling Aam Aadmi Party]. You have to decide.”
In earlier rallies, Shah had asked people to vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party so that there will “never be a Shaheen Bagh” in Delhi. Assembly elections are scheduled for all 70 seats in the city-state on February 8. The results will be declared on February 11. In the 2015 elections, the Aam Aadmi Party won 67 of the 70 seats, the BJP just three and the Congress none.
Shah’s remark came hours after a teenaged gunman fired near Jamia Millia Islamia University, injuring a student. Shah, prior to the Chhatarpur rally, had said that strictest action will be taken against the culprit. “The Central government will not tolerate any such incidents and the guilty will not be spared,” he tweeted.
At the rally, Shah also hit out at Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, claiming that the BJP stands with thousands of Pakistani refugees who have come to India, and will get citizenship under the new Citizenship Amendment Act, PTI reported. “Sisodia said I am with Shaheen Bagh. Now I am saying we are with Sanjay Colony,” he said. “I want to say to Dalits who have come from Pakistan and settled in Sanjay Colony that you have as much right over this country as I and my son have.”
Shah said a vote for the BJP on February 8 is a vote against an ideology. “Formation of the BJP government in Delhi will preserve the ideology of worshipping Bharat Mata,” the Union home minister proclaimed. He promised that the Ayushman Bharat health scheme of the Modi-led government will be implemented in Delhi within hours of BJP forming the government.
Hundreds of women and children have been occupying Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi for over a month-and-a-half, peacefully protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. Police requests have failed to budge them. Last week, Sisodia had said in an interview that he backs the protestors.
The Citizenship Amendment Act provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. Twenty-six people died in last month’s protests against the law – all in the BJP-ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Assam. On Tuesday, two protestors died in protests in Trinamool Congress-ruled West Bengal.