Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has given his seal of approval to the idea of using bullets to deal with dissenters.
After Union minister Anurag Thakur and BJP parliamentarian Parvesh Verma, Yogi Adityanath became the third key leader to give out the "goli se" advise - the target this time anyone who obstructs kanwariyas - devotees of the Lord Shiva who make a beeline for the Ganga once a year in the month of Shravan.
Speaking at a rally on the first day of his campaign in Delhi, the BJP star campaigner said: "We do not obstruct anyone's festival or faith. Let everyone celebrate festivals within the framework of the law. Lekin Shiv bhakto par goli chalayega koi vyakti, danga karayega, boli se nahi manega toh goli se toh maan hi jayega (If anyone opens fire at devotees of Lord Shiva, causes riots...If they don't listen to talks, they will surely listen to bullets)."
Clashes between kanwariyas and locals or passing motorists have been frequently reported from Delhi and its suburbs. This is why strong precautions are taken to maintain law and order along their route.
The Chief Minister, who is also the head of Uttar Pradesh's famous Gorakhnath temple -- a shrine to the Lord Shiva -- however, referred to the grand arrangements his government made for the kanwar yatra pilgrims and recalled how he arranged for flower petals to be showered on them.
When state officials warned that this would lead to chaos, Yogi Adityanath said he told them that the government would not obstruct festivals of any religion, and then added the caveat.
Ahead of the coming assembly elections in Delhi, a section of BJP leaders and supporters have been advocating the use of extreme force to silence "traitors" and those protesting against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act.
On Monday, Union Minister Anurag Thakur was caught on camera at a rally in northwest Delhi, egging on a crowd to chant a slogan that calls for gunning down "traitors".
A day later, party MP Parvesh Verma said: "Lakhs of people gather there (Shaheen Bagh). They will enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters, kill them. There's time today... Modi-ji and Amit Shah won't come to save you tomorrow".