- Can't allow conspiracy against India from Indian soil: Yogi Adityanath
- Dozens of people participated in CAA protests over the weekend
- The protests in Uttar Pradesh have frequently featured police action
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday issued a warning to those protesting against the citizenship law, saying slogans of "azadi" at such protests will be considered sedition and merit action.
Speaking in Kanpur at a function that's part of the BJP's outreach to the people regarding the law, Yogi Adityanath was quoted by news agency ANI as saying: "If anyone raises slogans of Azadi in the name of protest, it will amount to sedition and the government will take strict action. It can't be accepted. People can't be allowed to conspire against India from Indian soil".
The widespread protests in Uttar Pradesh have frequently featured police action.
Over the weekend, dozens of people, mostly women, participating at an indefinite sit-in against the Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA at Lucknow's iconic clock tower, were accused of "rioting" and "unlawful assembly".
The police filed three criminal cases, in which daughters of renowned Urdu poet Munawwar Rana - Sumaiya Rana and Fauzia Rana, were named.
The police were also accused of taking away blankets and food. Dismissing the allegations as rumours, the Lucknow police said the "blankets were seized after due process".
Cellphone videos that surfaced in Etawah showed women protesters being chased and caned by the police. Some showed the police barging into shops and forcing them to shut.
A tweet by the Etawah police said its personnel had been posted at the protest site and that protestors were being monitored.
"It is shameful for Congress, Samajwadi Party and Left parties to do politics on such issue while simultaneously pushing women for protest, who do not even know the meaning of CAA," the Chief Minister said today.
"Now they have pushed women, members of their family, to sit in protest at every crossroads. This is a big crime as the male members are sitting inside their houses, sleeping in the blankets while women are made to sit at the protest," he added.
The protests in Uttar Pradesh -- which started in Lucknow and are spreading through the small towns - are part of the countrywide protests against the citizenship law.
While the government says the law will help minorities from Muslim-dominated Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution before 2015, critics say the law violates the right to equality granted under the constitution.
Addressing a pro-CAA rally there on Tuesday, Home Minister Amit Shah said the citizenship law would not be withdrawn come what may.
"Let me say this here and now, this law will not be withdrawn, no matter who protests... We are not scared of opposition, we were born in it," Mr Shah said, challenging rivals like Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee to a public debate on CAA.
With inputs from ANI