Bengaluru: In the midst of nationwide protests over the amended Citizenship Act, Union Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi on Tuesday said that he has asked authorities to "shoot at sight" anybody who causes damage to Railway property.
"If anyone is destroying railway property, then I ask the chief minister of the particular state to initiate stringent action just as Sardar Vallabhai Patel had taken to merge Hyderabad with India," he said at Hubballi.
This was in response to questions by reporters who asked him about the steps taken to prevent damage to Railway property due to CAA related protests.
Hyderabad merged with the Union of India after police action under the leadership of India's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which forced the Nizam and his army to surrender.
Recently, railway services were badly affected in West Bengal as anti-CAA protesters blocked railway tracks, ransacked some stations and set fire on railway tracks.
When asked what he meant by stringent action, Angadi said, "Stringent action means shoot at sight..."
Stating that the CAA will not cause any trouble to Indian citizens, the union minister said "the CAA shows how courageous Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah are. "
However, he was peeved at protests turning violent and blamed the opposition for fanning the disturbance.
"Today the opposition parties opposing the Act should introspect. They are playing politics on this issue.
The opposition parties are destroying public property.
I request the states concerned to initiate stringent action against them," Angadi said.
He insisted that the CAA will not cause any trouble to the citizens of India as it is aimed at giving citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Buddhists in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh so that they can make a living here.
The minister was in Hubballi to inaugurate the Railway Recruitment Board Satellite Office for the benefit of unemployed youths in the southern region.
The Congress took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after Minister of State for Railways Suresh C. Angadi stoked a controversy by saying he has ordered the district administration to 'shoot at sight' if anyone tried to destroy public property.
"If people in power talk in such language to curb the protest then its fascism," the Congress said, here on Tuesday.
Congress spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi told IANS, "In any civilised society, there is no place for violence. When people in power speak about violence to curb protests and agitations then its fascism."
The Minister made the remark over violent protests across the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The protestors have also torched a railway station in West Bengal's Murshidabad district.
Slamming the Minister, the Congress leader said, "The statement proves that the BJP doesn't believe in democracy and they want to suppress the voices of people."
Remarking that India had a federal structure, Tyagi said, "Powers of states and Centre are clear in the Constitution. Only an illiterate, intolerant and tyrannical person can speak in the shoot at sight language."
(With Agency inputs)