People who destroy public property should be shot at sight, Union Minister Suresh Angadi said, outlining his prescription to minimise losses of the railways in violence over the contentious citizenship bill in West Bengal, northeastern states and elsewhere.
“…I strictly warn concerned district administration and railway authorities, if anybody destroys public property, including railway, I direct as a Minister, shoot them at sight,” Suresh Angadi, the Union Minister of State for Railways, told news agency ANI. He was responding to a question regarding the railways facing losses in West Bengal and other states due to the ongoing protests in the region.
The minister accused the opposition of supporting some anti-social elements who were creating problems in the country. He underlined that the new law is not going to harm any citizen. The law, the minister said, is meant to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
WATCH | ‘Shoot at sight’: Union minister warns vandals | Citizenship law protest
“The local minorities, some community, are unnecessarily creating problems to destabilise the country’s economy, supported by the opposition party like the Congress. So I condemn this,” said the minister.
He also demanded the government take stringent action against protesters “like Vallabhbhai Patel would have”.
Expressing solidarity with his railway employees, the minister said his 13 lakh employees were working day and night for development, for cleanliness, for punctuality.
This is not the first time that the minister has made a controversial comment. Last month he was the target of many jibes on social media when he rebutted the opposition’s criticism of the economy. The minster insisted the economy is “doing fine”. As evidence to back his assessment, he said “airports and trains are full and people are getting married”.
Parliament had passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, last week and it became an act after receiving assent from President Ram Nath Kovind.
Since then, violence has been reported in various parts of the country over the citizenship law and after Sunday’s police action against Jamia students, several university campuses have erupted in protests to express solidarity.