Violence abates, political blame game begins in UP

Lucknow, Dec 22  After three days of intensive violence in 19 districts in Uttar Pradesh, the political blame game has begun.

Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma blamed ‘outsiders’ and the opposition for provoking violence. “The opposition and its members are misleading people on the issues of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). I want to ask Akhilesh Yadav what is his basic opposition to CAA and NRC. His own sister-in-law (Aparna Yadav) has supported NRC. Among those who indulged in violence, there are many outsiders too. Why brought them here?” he asked.

Sharma assured that CAA was not designed to harm Muslims and asked people to beware of rumours.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, at a press conference, blamed the BJP for the violence and said, “The BJP is vitiating the atmosphere to divert attention from other important issues. Earlier, the BJP had done it with demonetization and is doing it now with CAA and NRC. They want to divert attention from farmers’ problems, unemployment, rising prices and economic issues.”

Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati, meanwhile, blamed Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar for inciting violence. From her Twitter handle, she said that he plays into the hands of non-BSP parties, incites violence in states where the BSP is strong. “He then conveniently goes to jail. Chandrashekhar lives in UP but was seen protesting in Delhi where assembly elections are due soon. My party workers should beware of such elements,” she stated.

BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj blamed the Congress for the violence and said that it spoke the language of Pakistan.

UP Congress President Ajay Kumar Lallu accused the BJP of promoting violence for political gains. He said that peaceful protesters were being targeted by the police. “If the chief minister says that the government will take revenge (badla), you can imagine the mindset of the people in power,” he said.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the violent protests has gone up to 18 though the UP DGP O.P. Singh claimed that 15 persons had died so far. He said five deaths had been reported from Meerut, two from Bijnor, three from Ferozabad, two from Sambhal and one each from Rampur, Lucknow and Varanasi.

The DGP said that 131 FIRs had been lodged in connection with the violence and 879 persons had been arrested. He said over 5000 people have been confined. The number of injured police personnel is 288.