A BJP candidate once accused of inciting communal riots has vowed to clamp curfew in three Muslim-majority towns of Uttar Pradesh should the party be voted to power, in remarks that could invite the Election Commission’s wrath for potentially violating poll guidelines.
Suresh Rana, who is contesting the assembly polls from Thana Bhawan in Hmali district, said on Sunday “curfew will be imposed” in Kairana, Deoband, Moradabad if he and the party are elected in the polls starting next month.
“If I win, curfew will be imposed in Kairana, Deoband and Moradabad,” Rana is heard saying in a video clip released by news agency ANI.
The MLA added his defeat will be celebrated in Deoband and Moradabad. His comments were greeted with loud cheer from the crowd.
He, however, backtracked on Monday, saying his comments were taken out of context.
The BJP has been highlighting what it claims is mass exodus of Hindus from several areas of Shamli due to alleged extortion and threat by Muslim goons.
Last year, the BJP had released the report of a fact-finding team to Kairana and demanded a CBI probe into criminal gangs hounding out Hindus from the predominantly Muslim township in western Uttar Pradesh, around 100 km from Delhi.
Deoband in neighbouring Shaharanpur district is famous for its Muslim seminary Darul Uloom, seen by the Hindu right-wing as a breeding ground of radical Islam. Moradabad, both a district and headquarter town, also has a large Muslim population.
Western Uttar Pradesh is one of the most communally sensitive areas in the country’s most populous state and had seen largescale riots in 2013 in Muzaffarnagar. The violence had left more than 60 people dead and displaced thousands.
Rana came up with a clarification, saying if his party comes to power then the state will see the exit of goons.
“Due to the fear of hooligans, extortion, the people migrated from western Uttar Pradesh. There is no village or town where migration did not take place due to these reasons. So, I meant to say that if the BJP comes to power in UP then these goons, extortionists will migrate and not the innocents,” ANI quoted Rana as saying.
The BJP is trying to regain power in the state after 19 years.