A BJP candidate once accused of inciting communal riots has vowed to clamp curfew in three Muslim-majority towns of UP 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 from Thana Bhawan in Shamli district, was booked by UP Police on charges of inciting hatred after he said on Sunday that “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.
Accusing Rana of attempting to instill fear in the minds of Muslims, and polarise the UP polls, Muslim cleric Khalid Rashid urged the EC to cancel his candidature.
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 UP. 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.