Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, whose video in support of the citizenship law was tweeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, on Wednesday said the continuing protests could impair India's image abroad and keep away foreign investment which the country sorely needs.
Speaking to NDTV at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Sadhguru said, "No one would want to invest in a place where buses are burning on the streets".
Protests, Sadhguru said, do not cause concern. "But when buses are burned at a few places, the image stays. Though it is a small thing... but when I say a small thing, it is not across the country. It happened in a few places. We can't ignore it," he said.
"It is our business as a nation to see that we don't project images of civil unrest... because without a tremendous amount of foreign investment, we will not be able to achieve what we want to achieve in the country when 400 million people are still undernourished," he told NDTV, adding, "As Indians, it is our business to show that it is a safe place to invest".
His words come in the backdrop of concern at Davos over the ongoing protests against the citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens and India dropping 10 places in the Democracy Index 2019. The country has placed 51st of 165 nations and two territories, with its lowest ever score of 6.9 out of 10.
In its annual report, The Economist Intelligence Unit, a news and general affairs publication, attributed the drop to "democratic regression (in) erosion of civil liberties" and said the slide could continue next year as well.
Regarding the other slide - the one on the economic front - the prescription from the International Monetary Fund's prescription was a lot of foreign investment. The International Monetary Fund has slashed India's growth forecast to 4.8 per cent, a cut of 1.3 per cent in just three months.
"It is important to encourage investment more broadly with the mandate of the country," IMF's Chief Economist Gita Gopinath had told NDTV.
"We need to revive domestic investment in India, consumption spending is weak. So I think the environment has to be created for greater investment because that's what will raise the capital stock and raise India's potential growth,'' she had added.
She had also said the IMF will "follow" the protests in India and "see what this does in our next assessment in April".