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INDIA’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader for West Bengal Dilip Ghosh has threatened to shoot and jail people who protest against a discriminatory new citizenship law.
Mr Ghosh made the comments to members of the Hindu-chauvinist party on Sunday in a district of the state that borders Bangladesh, 90 per cent of whose population is Muslim.
The recent law, which provides a path to naturalisation for people from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan unless they are Muslim, has triggered a month of nationwide protests.
Members of the public have raised concerns that the law will be used in conjunction with a national register of citizens that could require all Indians to produce documents proving their origins.
Many people in the country do not have official records, including birth certificates.
Twenty-three people have been killed since the law passed last month as huge protests erupted across the country.
Police in the state of Assam have acknowledged shooting dead five people, and Karnataka authorities offered compensation to the families of two men killed by police during protests.
On a single day in Uttar Pradesh, 16 Muslims were killed after the BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath promised to take “revenge” against protesters. Authorities in the northern state have denied any responsibility for the deaths.
Referring to protests in West Bengal, Mr Gosh said on Sunday: “Look at Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, our government has shot these demons like dogs.
“You will come here, eat our food, stay here and then damage property? We will beat you with (batons), shoot you and put you in jail.”
Cabinet Union Minister Babul Supriyo distanced the BJP from Mr Ghosh’s comments, calling them “very irresponsible” on Twitter yesterday.
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