Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday attacked Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over his government's handling of the protests over the citizenship law and asserted that ‘people will not allow’ National Register of Citizens in the country.
Wrapping up her four-day visit to Lucknow, Priyanka Gandhi also demanded a judicial probe into the alleged police excesses in handling the recent anti-CAA stir in the state, claiming that a total of 23 people died during the agitation, against the state's claim of 19 casualties.
In a press conference, the Congress general secretary also questioned the CM's practice of wearing saffron robes, saying they denote Hinduism, which has no place for violence or 'revenge'.
The reference was to Adityanath's warning that the property of those who damaged public assets in the protests over the Citizen Amendment Act will be auctioned to compensate for the losses.
Priyanka Gandhi also asserted that the people 'will not allow' to have an NRC in the country.
"The NRC is not a valid certificate of citizenship. The NRC has no relationship with valid citizenship certificate. Chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states have said it will not be implemented in their states," she said.
"You have seen that other parties have also made similar announcements. So, this cannot be implemented as people will not allow its implementation," she said.
Referring to the government's punitive actions against the vandals during the anti-CAA protests, she said those who indulged in violence should be identified first.
"Without a probe, how can you take action?" she asked.
Attacking Chief Minister Adityanath, she said, "This is the country of Lord Krishna -- who was the symbol of compassion. Lord Ram was symbol of compassion. Everybody dances in the marriage procession (baraat) of Lord Shiva. There is no place for 'hinsaa' (violence), 'badlaa' (revenge) and 'ranj' (anger) in the country's soul."
"When Shri Krishna gave sermon to Arjun during the Mahabharata war, he did not talk about revenge or anger to the great warrior on the battlefield. He only brought out the feelings of compassion and truth," she said.
"He wears the dress (vastra) of an Yogi. He is wearing saffron clothes. This bhagwa (saffron) is not yours, it belongs to 'dhaarmik' (religious), 'aadhyaatmik' (spiritual) tradition of Hindustan. It is a symbol of the Hindu religion. Uss dharma ko dhaaran kariye (imbibe that religion).
"In that religion, there is no place for anger, violence and revenge. This is all I have to say," she said.
Reacting to Priyanka Gandhi's remarks, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma accused her of siding with violent protesters and denigrating Hinduism.
"Priyanka stands with those who indulged in violence," Sharma said.
"Hindu religion never teaches to harm anyone. Hindu religion does not speak about insulting any other religion. Hindu religion is very vast and you are saying that a person (Adityanath) is doing such a thing," he said.
To a question, Sharma clarified that Adityanath had used the word 'badla' to convey that vandals will have to pay for the damage done by them to public property during violence by them.
Asked about her security, Priyanka Gandhi, in her press conference, said her own security was "a trivial matter".
"The question of my security is not a big one. It is a small question on which there is no need to hold any discussion.
"I will not raise the issue of security because it is a trivial matter. It has nothing to do with the public," she said, in an apparent reference to her alleged manhandling by police.
"The issue is the safety of common man in UP," she asserted.
Releasing copies of a 14-page memorandum submitted to Governor Anandiben Patel, she said there are ample proof in the document on how the police and the administration indulged in wrong doing and vandalism.
The memorandum claimed a total of 23 death occurred in the state in the alleged police excesses during the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 protests by people, while the UP government claims 19 deaths in clashes.
There is also a video of police vandalism, police beating up a minor in Kanpur, she said, referring to the contents of memorandum.
"There were numerous examples through which it could be seen that the police and administration acted on the chief minister's statement that he will take revenge.
"I think it has happened for the first time in the history that a CM has given such a statement that revenge will be taken from the public," she said.
The properties which have been confiscated and notices served, also include that of ex-IPS officer S R Darapuri.
The retired officers would have used his lifetime earnings for his house, and he has got a notice, because he had uploaded a Facebook post, she said.
Quoting from the memorandum, the Congress leader said the conduct of the UP police has been 'patently unlawful, destructive of the rule of law and repressive of honest citizens'.
'This is unbefitting of a force that is duty-bound to safeguard and protect the citizens' rights,' the memorandum said.
It also said in the last two weeks, people in Uttar Pradesh have been 'shot at, beaten, arrested, detained, received notices for the confiscation of their properties and been wrongfully charged with extremely serious offences simply for exercising their democratic right to protest'.
In some cases, mere bystanders have been targeted by police, it said.