Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday defended police over the deaths of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters, saying they were shot by other rioters and nothing can be done to save someone with a death wish.
Wrapping up the discussion in the state assembly on the governor's address, Adityanath said the role of the police in dealing with rioters during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act should be appreciated.
In hard-hitting remarks, the chief minister said his government supported democratic protests but will maintain law and order by dealing strictly with those indulging in violence.
“Jo jis bhasha main samjhega, usey uss bhasha main samjhayenge (We will talk to them in the language they understand),” he warned.
About 20 people died of gunshot wounds during violent protests in several parts of Uttar Pradesh in December.
“If someone is coming with an intention to die, how can he remain alive?” Adityanath said.
“If someone comes out to kill an innocent person and he is challenged by police, then either he or the policemen have to die,” he added.
The CM said nobody died of a police bullet during the protests.
“Rioters died of rioters' bullets,” he said, repeating the claim made earlier by police.
He claimed that the anti-CAA protests revealed terror funding by the Popular Front of India, which is said is “another name” for banned terror group SIMI or Students Islamic Movement of India.
"Any sympathy for them means, support to the PFI and the SIMI. Those who do treason with country, will die an anonymous death (gumnam maut)," he said.
He said criminals don't want their sons and daughters to become criminals, but some big leaders had sent their daughters amidst those who raise anti-national slogans.
The chief minister claimed that “azadi” slogans were being raised during the protests.
“What kind of 'azadi'? We have to see whether we want to fulfil the dreams of Bapu or Jinnah," he said, referring to the founder of Pakistan.
During his two-hour speech, Adityanath trashed the opposition charges against him on crime and women empowerment.
In an indirect reference to the Samajwadi Party, he recalled how in the past MLAs "used to throw paper balls" at the podium during the governor's customary address to the House.
"Those who insulted the Constitution are today trying to preach us about the Constitution. It's better they keep off or they will be badly exposed," he said.
Without naming former chief minister and Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, Adityanath recalled his controversial “boys will be boys” remark and mocked the opposition for speaking on women empowerment.
While opposing capital punishment for rape, Mulayam Singh Yadav had sparked an outrage by saying "ladke, ladke hain... galti ho jati hai (boys will be boys... they commit mistakes)."
Adityanath cited the police firing on 'kar sevaks' gathered in Ayodhya on October 30, 1990, when Mulayam Singh Yadav was the chief minister.
He also trained his guns at the Congress, referring to the infamous "tandoor case" in which former Youth Congress leader Sushil Sharma spent 23 years in Tihar Jail for killing his wife Naina Sahni and then trying to dispose of her body in a restaurant tandoor.
"These parties have the cheek to call themselves champions of women empowerment," he said.
The chief minister said when the governor spoke on 'Ramrajya' in her address, it did not have any religious connotations.
He said Ramrajya does not mean governance through religion. “The country needs Ramrajya' not 'Samajwad',” the chief minister said.
"My government is determined on Ramrajya, which means governance for public welfare,” he said.
He listed his government's achievements during the past three years. "It takes time to cleanse the system, age-old garbage cannot be removed overnight," he said.
Using a computer tablet, he cited data to claim that the crime rate has come down during his term.
The House passed the motion of thanks on the Governor's address by voice vote.