Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged students to debate and protest against government policies they disagree with, but asked them to be wary of “urban Naxals” who he claimed were using them for their politics. Speaking at an election rally in Jharkhand, Modi blamed the Congress and other Opposition parties for creating fear among Muslims about the amendments to the Citizenship Act.
Modi reiterated that no Indian’s citizenship will be affected by the Act, no matter what religion they belong to. “The divide and rule policy of the Congress has already led to the Partition of the country once,” the prime minister alleged.
“I ask the youth in colleges and universities of the country to understand the importance of this period of your lives,” he said. “You can discuss and debate the policies of the government. If you think there is something wrong in them, you can protest in a democratic way. Tell the government about your concerns. We listen to you, we understand you.”
“However, you will also have to find out whether some parties, urban Naxals, some people who consider themselves intellectuals, are not trying to gain political mileage by putting a gun over your shoulders,” he added. “You will have to find out if this is not a conspiracy by them to destroy your life. They cannot think of anything else but hatred for Modi.”
Violence broke out outside Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi on Sunday evening, and police were accused of brutally assaulting students. Buses were set on fire after protestors engaged in a pitched battle with the police. Several students and policemen were injured.
After the violent clashes, the police allegedly entered the campus and launched a crackdown. Later in the evening, the police detained around 100 students. They were released around 3.30 am on Monday. However, protests continued at the university even on Monday.
Protests swept campuses across the country on Monday against the brutal police crackdown at the Jamia campus.
Modi claimed that the Congress allowed infiltrators to enter the country for vote bank politics. “The Congress and its allies are also responsible for the problems caused by these infiltrators,” he added. “I challenge the Congress and other Opposition parties, that if they have the courage, they should openly declare that they are willing to grant every Pakistani citizen the citizenship of India. The Congress should also openly declare that it will once again make Article 370 applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Modi also alleged that the Congress and its allies are trying to destroy the youth of the country. “This will not be good for anyone, it will not be good for the country,” he said. “Do not crush the dreams of the parents who have worked hard to educate their children.”
The prime minister also claimed that there is no difference between the views of the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Communists. He accused the three parties of lying to the people of Jharkhand when it was a part of Bihar.
The amended Citizenship Act, which was passed by both Houses of Parliament last week, will grant citizenship to people from six persecuted religious communities, except Muslims, from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan provided they have resided in India for six years. The cut-off date is December 31, 2014.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court asked petitioners against police action at Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University to approach the relevant High Courts. The top court also refused to set up a fact-finding committee to investigate the police action against students.
Elections to all 81 seats in the Jharkhand Assembly are being held in five phases. The results will be declared on December 23.