Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress were responsible for the violence in Delhi during protests against the amended Citizenship Act last month.
“Congress and AAP are responsible for damage of property and creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion among minorities regarding Citizenship Act,” he said at a press conference, NDTV reported. “They must apologise to the people of Delhi.”
“In a peaceful city like Delhi, the atmosphere that was created by spreading misinformation on Citizenship Amendment Act, and the damage that was done to property, Congress and AAP are responsible for it,” he added. Javadekar claimed that Aam Aadmi Party’s Amanatullah Khan had incited protestors.
The Union minister claimed that the fight for Delhi would be between truth and lie, and between nationalism and anarchy, in apparent reference to the upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi.
BJP trying to divert attention, says AAP
Senior AAP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia hit back at the saffron party. He said BJP was trying to divert people’s attention from real matters by making such allegations.
“AAP completely opposes riots and we all know which party indulges in it,” he said. “The masters of riots are accusing others and trying to distract attention of people from real issues.”
Sisodia said Javadekar was making the allegations because of upcoming Delhi Assembly elections. “It is an old tape that BJP has played earlier also and it is playing the same old tape again through a new tape recorder,” he added. “Javadekar should understand that Delhi elections would not be fought on the old tapes but on real issues like education.”
Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Mukesh Sharma called Javadekar’s charges as “baseless” and a “drama” because of elections. “Congress believes CAA has terrified a large section of Delhi people over citizenship issues,” he added. “We will not be deflected by such baseless allegations and continue to peacefully protest against the amended citizenship law.”
There have been massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens in the country over the last two weeks, resulting in the deaths of at least 26 people. The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.
In Delhi, thousands of people were detained as protests raged last month. Internet services were suspended for brief periods and hundreds of people, many of them students, were injured in clashes with the police.
On December 15, buses were set on fire after protestors from Jamia Millia Islamia University 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 the next day. Protests swept campuses across the country the following day against the brutal police crackdown at the Jamia campus.
Thousands of protestors stood together in the bitter cold at midnight on Tuesday and ushered in the New Year with the national anthem at South Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood. Demonstrators were seen waving the national flag and carrying posters that read “No CAA” “No NRC” “No NPR” and “We stand united against CAA, NPR”. Many chanted slogans of “Azaadi [freedom]”. At 12 am on Wednesday, the crowd broke into cheers as protestors wished each other and then began the national anthem, followed by “Inquilab” slogans. The protest, mostly led by women, saw a few children who had tagged along with their mothers to the site.