Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday castigated the Narendra Modi-led government after protests swept campuses across India following the police crackdown at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi, and Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh the day before. The students were demonstrating against an amended citizenship law.
“The police is entering universities and beating students,” Vadra tweeted. “At a time when this government should come forth and listen to the people, the BJP government is oppressing students and journalists in the North East, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. This is a coward government.”
The Congress general secretary warned that the voice of the youth cannot be suppressed. “You will have to listen to their voice sooner than later,” she added.
Follow our live blog on the political fallout of the Citizenship Act across India.
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi supported the student’s protests and called the amended Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizens “weapons of mass polarisation unleashed by fascists”. “The best defence against these dirty weapons is peaceful, non violent satyagraha,” he added. “I stand in solidarity with all those protesting peacefully against the CAB and NRC.”
The violence broke out on Sunday evening after a protest march by Jamia students ended in a pitched battle with the police. Buses were set on fire. Several students and policemen, including senior officers, were injured.
Investigate Delhi Police, says Congress
The Congress criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not speaking about the “violence on students” in Delhi. “From the North East to Assam, West Bengal and now in Delhi,” the party said. “The BJP government has failed in its duty to maintain peace in the nation. They must take responsibility and restore peace in our country.”
The party asked if it was justified for security personnel to enter the library and hostel at Jamia University” and throw tear-gas shells. “Can students not protest against the CAB which is a blow to the soul of the Constitution?” asked party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
The party demanded a thorough investigation into the police’s actions. “The home minister should also take responsibility as Delhi Police comes under the ministry’s purview,” said Congress leader Pawan Khera, according to PTI.
The Congress leader said such violence had not been seen in Delhi in the past 30 years. “Wonder what kind of government is this,” Khera added. “This is the first such government where Japan prime minister is unable to come, home minister is unable to visit North East and the prime minister is busy doing poll campaign in Jharkhand.”
All the detained students from Jamia were released around 3,30 am on Monday. After Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University, Hyderabad’s Maulana Azad Urdu University, Kolkata Jadavpur University and the Banaras Hindu University too protested against the Citizenship Act. On Tuesday morning, protests erupted at a college in Lucknow.