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Prime Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India, defends “tough” measures to quell the protests

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Indian Prime Minister Uttar Pradesh has rejected accusations from human rights groups that police committed violations during protests against the new nationality law and credited his tough stance in restoring calm to the streets.

The state witnessed the most violent unrest due to the citizenship law issued by the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which activists say is discriminatory against Muslims, who make up about 14 percent of India’s population.

In the state, India’s most populous country, 19 people have been killed since the protests began this month, out of at least 25 killed nationwide.

The clashes in the state appeared to have subsided over the past week, but small-scale demonstrations were still taking place on its streets.

The state’s prime minister, Yogi Adityanath, an extremist Hindu priest of the ruling Hindu Hindu nationalist party, said it was his tough policies that ended the unrest.

“Every troublemaker is traumatized, every troublemaker is stunned … given the toughness of the Yuji government, everyone is silent,” he said to one of his official Twitter accounts confirmed late on Friday evening.

“Do whatever you want, but the damage will be paid for by the people who caused it,” he added.

His government said last week it was demanding more than two hundred million rupees to compensate for the material damage caused to the state during the protests and threatened to confiscate their property.

Human rights groups have denounced what they describe as mass arrests and the use of excessive force in the state where the authorities have arrested more than a thousand people.

The law provides non-Muslim minorities who moved to India before 2015 from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to obtain citizenship. Critics of the law say it discriminates against Muslims and is an attack on the country’s secular constitution by the Hindu nationalist government led by Modi.

The government says the law will not affect any citizen of the country and it has no immediate plans to launch a registry of citizenship nationwide.

But a video posted on social media sites will likely increase fears of those concerned about the situation of Muslims in India. The recording shows a senior officer in the Uttar Pradesh state police telling a protester, “Go to Pakistan if you don’t want to live here.”

The officer told Reuters on Saturday that some protesters chanted slogans loyal to Pakistan, adding, “In this particular situation, I told them to go to Pakistan.”

Opposition Congress officials are due to lead Saturday’s protests under the slogan “Save the Constitution … Save India.”

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