Uttar Pradesh minister Anand Swaroop Shukla triggered a controversy when he dubbed those who had stayed back in India during the partition of the country in 1947 ''conspirators trying to break the country again'', and said that such people would be killed in 'encounters'.
Shukla, a minister of state in the Yogi Adityanath government, made the remarks while speaking to reporters in Ballia on Tuesday evening.
His remarks came in response to the reported statement of noted Urdu poet and Sahitya Academy Award (Urdu Literature) winner Munawwar Rana that he (Rana) would leave UP if the BJP returned to power after the 2022 Assembly polls in the state and Yogi Adityanath became the chief minister of the state again. He had also said that UP was not 'safe' for the Muslims anymore.
''Munawwar Rana is among the Muslims, who chose to stay back in India during the partition in 1947, as part of a conspiracy to divide the country against,'' Shukla said.
''Aise sabhi log, chahe woh jo bhi hon, encounter mein mare jayenge'' (all such people, whosoever they are, will be killed in encounters), he remarked.
Rana, an acclaimed Urdu poet, had returned the Sahitya Academy Award in 2015, a year after receiving it, and had vowed never to accept any government award in protest against the ''rising intolerance'' in the country.