Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray lashed out at the BJP-led centre on Sunday, defending criticism of his government’s record on women’s safety and crime against women by attacking his former ally over the law and order situation in BJP-ruled states. Speaking hours after violent clashes over the controversial citizenship law struck Delhi and UP’s Aligarh, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said those targeting his government should first address problems in their own states.
“Every crime against women is condemnable and no such incident should occur again,” the Chief Minister said, adding, “While targeting us the BJP should also see what is happening in states ruled by it. Wherever BJP governments are in power – like UP or Delhi – we have seen protests like Shaheen Bagh. In UP, riots have taken place over anti-CAA protests”.
Mr Thackeray said no riots had erupted in Maharashtra, which is ruled by the Maha Vikas Aghadi – an unlikely alliance of the Sena and the ideologically disparate Congress and NCP.
Massive protests have swept the country against the citizenship law, which makes religion test for citizenship for the first time in India. The government says it will grant citizenship to minorities from three Muslim-majority neighbouring countries, critics have called the law “anti-Muslim”.
On Sunday night violence broke out in northeast Delhi, where pro- and anti-citizenship law protesters clashed, and in UP’s Aligarh, where cops lathi-charged protesters, including women. In total, and so far, violence related to citizenship law protests has claimed several lives – over 20 were killed in UP and at least 5 in Assam. The BJP is in power in both states.
The protest at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh – which has been led by women and been going on for nearly two months now – have emerged as the epicentre of these agitations and bore the brunt of the BJP’s attacks during Assembly elections in the national capital this month.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur was banned from campaigning after he was caught on video urging people at a campaign rally to “goli maaro (gun down) traitors“. Earlier this month a man fired shots at anti-CAA protesters – the second such incident in a 48-hour period and third overall.
In his attack on the BJP, Mr Thackeray also took aim at the BJP over last month’s horrific mob attack by on students of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
“… In central-ruled New Delhi terrorists stormed JNU and beat students. Despite so many days, not a single assailant has been arrested so far,” he said.
At least 34 people were injured after masked goons wielding iron rods and sledgehammers barged onto the JNU campus and went on an unchecked three-hour rampage. Delhi Police, which reports to the Union Home Ministry, was criticised for its conduct during that attack.
The day after the attack Mr Thackeray compared it to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Delhi Police have also been criticised for conduct during clashes with students of other Delhi colleges engaged in peaceful protests against citizenship law, including those from Jamia Millia Islamia.
With input from ANI, PTI