New Delhi: BJP MP Vinay Katiyar courted controversy on Tuesday with his claim that pro-Pakistan demonstrators had incited the Kasganj violence last week that ultimately led to the death of 22-year-old Chandan Gupta.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Katiyar said, “The Kasganj incident is extremely unfortunate. There were no communal clashes in the district in the past as all communities lived in harmony. But some miscreants have come into light who support Pakistan and will go to any extent to defy the tricolour. They need to be dealt with strictly.”
Probed further by CNN-News18, Katiyar later denied making any controversial statement and said, “I haven’t said anything wrong. It has become a trend these days to hoist the Pakistan flag.”
When asked if he has any evidence to prove his statement that Pakistan supporters have raised the Pakistan flag in Kasganj and incited violence, Katiyar refused to reveal anything further and said, "I have all the necessary information".
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy rushed to the support of Katiyar and told CNN-News18, “I think what happens is somebody from the intelligence briefs the authorities on certain things and they are supposed to protect its confidentiality, which he has said aloud. It is not an unthinkable thing that Pakistan will be involved in such things. The SIT should take cognisance of Katiyar's statement and see if it is true.”
Katiyar’s controversial statement comes right after Bareilly District Magistrate RV Singh wrote in a Facebook post that it has “become a trend” to raise anti-Pakistan slogans in Muslim-dominated areas. He also said, “Why don’t we raise slogans against China, which is a far bigger enemy?”
This led to several BJP leaders reacting adversely to the DM’s statement.
Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti said, “The incident means that anti-national elements cannot tolerate Tiranga Yatra. The UP government is taking strict actions. Such incidents will not be tolerated and it should also not be politicised.”
Last week in Kasganj, volunteers of organisations like the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Hindu Mahasabha and ABVP had taken out the rally - 'Tiranga Yatra'. After passing through the Kotwali area, they were about to pass through a Muslim dominated area when some people objected to its passage.
This resulted in heated exchange of words and eventually escalated to firing in which a local youth, Chandan Gupta lost his life. As many as 118 people have been arrested so far and security forces maintained a strict vigil.