A Karnataka BJP leader has warned protesters against opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act, asking them to consider what would happen if members of the majority community hit the streets against them.
"Be careful because we are 80 per cent of the population while you are just 15 per cent. You are just a minority, and I want you to think what will happen if the majority comes out on the streets against you all," BJP MLA Somashekar Reddy said in an apparent reference to the Muslim community at a rally in north Karnataka's Ballari on Friday.
Mr Reddy also claimed that Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya was right in terming those opposing the controversial law as puncturewallahs. "Tejasvi Surya spoke correctly. Most of those protesters are puncturewallahs and illiterates who believe whatever is said to them," he said, claiming that the opposition Congress was "polluting" their minds.
The Ballari MLA said that protesters who destroy public property in Karnataka will be taught the "same lesson" as the one provided to their counterparts in Uttar Pradesh. "We are Indians, and we will teach you the same way the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister is teaching those who destroy public property in his state. It is good if those protesting the CAA are shot, but do come to a Hindu doctor if you are injured. He will treat your wound," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
Parts of Karnataka had witnessed violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act last month, with police shooting down two people in Mangaluru on December 19.
Quoting an unnamed Australian Prime Minister, Mr Reddy said that every country requires its residents to adhere to its principles. "This is my country, our country, Like how an Australian PM once said: If you want to live here, you must live in accordance with the principles of the country. If not, you can leave our country," he said.
The Citizenship Amendment Act aims to make it easier for non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to become Indian nationals. However, protesters and opposition claim that the "discriminatory and unconstitutional" law is only meant to prepare the grounds for the nationwide National Register of Citizens, which could potentially put lakhs of genuine citizens at risk of being labelled as illegal immigrants.
(With inputs from ANI)