The Mumbai unit of the Congress on Monday staged demonstrations against the alleged burning of a copy of the Indian Constitution in New Delhi last week, PTI reported. The party said the people responsible for the act should be booked for sedition.
The Delhi Police have so far arrested two men – Abhishek Shukla and Deepak Gaur – in connection with the incident. On August 9, Shukla’s Youth Equality Foundation and Gaur’s Arakshan Virodhi Party held a protest at Parliament Street. The two groups burnt the Constitution and shouted slogans against the amendments to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, BR Ambedkar, and the Constitution.
Congress workers, who staged a protest outside the railway station in Dadar, claimed not only the Constitution but BR Ambedkar had also been insulted.
“Just arrest is not enough,” said former Congress MP Eknath Gaikwad. “We demand that the accused be slapped with sedition charges so that nobody dares to do such a thing again.” He claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre had instigated the people who burnt the Constitution.
On Sunday, several organisations in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi city staged protests against the alleged incident, The Hindu reported.
The Forum of Progressive Organisations claimed right-wing organisations led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh were responsible for such acts. The forum comprises several Dalit, Lingayat, women and cultural organisations.
Speaking at the Jagat Circle in Kalaburagi, the forum criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “deliberate silence” on this matter. “It was the Constitution that created space and opportunity for ordinary people such as Modi to become Prime Minister,” said Janwadi Mahila Sanghatan’s Karnataka Vice President K Neela. “After assuming power, he is now keeping silent even when his own party and its supporters are making attempts to destroy the Constitution. He should break his silence and speak up against such vandalism.”
She added: “We don’t allow RSS-led Sangh Parivar’s efforts to destroy India’s harmonious social fabric and impose Manuvadi hegemony over the vast majority of the toiling masses.”
Dalit leader Vittal Doddamani claimed the Sangh Parivar was against the Constitution as it is aimed at achieving equality, harmony and social justice. “Their previous attempts to change the Constitution failed thanks to the powerful resistance by the oppressed masses and progressive thinkers,” he added. “Their similar future attempts will also meet the same fate as the people have now become more aware.”
However, “the sword of Damocles will hang over India’s head as long as these regressive forces are active”, Doddamani said. Fighting them together through democratic means is the only way of getting rid of them, he added.
On Sunday, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also blamed the Centre for the incident. “The copy of the Constitution burnt at a place [Jantar Mantar] that is used as a platform by the people to raise their voices to protect the Constitution,” the senior Aam Aadmi Party leader tweeted. “Those involved in the crime are moving freely. The message is clear – the incident took place on the instructions of those in power at the Centre.”