Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Monday urged students to stay away from violence and maintain peace as protests against the amendments to the Citizenship Act swept campuses across India, PTI reported.

“I appeal to all students to stay away from violence and maintain peace on campuses,” he said. “Please do not pay heed to rumours...At this point, we need to propagate feelings of peace, harmony and brotherhood. We should not indulge in [any] activity which is not in interests of the nation.”

Police crackdown on students of Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University on Sunday night triggered protests at several colleges, including the Indian Institutes of Technology in Mumbai, Chennai and Kanpur, as well as the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. Students from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, also boycotted classes in solidarity and held a peaceful protest. A group of Jamia Millia students protested without shirts in the cold outside the university gates.

Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy accused political parties of instigating violence in Delhi and appealed to people to maintain peace.

“We are worried about whatever has happened in Jamia Millia University,” he added. “The Citizenship Amendment Act is not against any religion. I would like to request everyone to maintain peace as damaging public property is not good.”

On the alleged atrocities by Delhi Police on Sunday against Jamia students, Reddy said: “I have not seen any such video so far. But I believe some foreign elements are egging on the protestors.”

Earlier on Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman warned of “jihadists, Maoists and separatists” infiltrating student protests in New Delhi against the amended law. She said she did not know what happened at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi on Sunday night.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said violent protests across the country against amendments to the Citizenship Act were “deeply distressing” and not in line with “our ethos”. “I want to unequivocally assure my fellow Indians that CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act] does not affect any citizen of India of any religion,” he said.

“The need of the hour is for all of us to work together for the development of India and the empowerment of every Indian, especially the poor, downtrodden and marginalised,” the prime minister added. “We cannot allow vested interest groups to divide us and create disturbance.”

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