Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit any university of the country and speak to the students about the state of the economy and joblessness, PTI reported. Gandhi said the prime minister did “not have the guts” to do so.
“Narendra Modi should stand up and have the courage to speak to the youngsters of these universities on why the economy has become a disaster, why has it become a basket case and why unemployment in India is at its highest in 50 years,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters after a meeting of Opposition leaders in New Delhi. “I challenge the prime minister to go to any of the universities, stand over there without his police, without his infrastructure and tell the people what is he going to do with this country.”
“Unfortunately, the prime minister of the country does not have the guts to do this,” the former Congress president said.
Gandhi accused Modi was pursuing a policy of “distract and divide”, which he said was the “biggest disservice to the nation”. He alleged that since the prime minister is afraid of having a dialogue with the students, he is crushing them using the police.
Earlier in the day, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said the government had “let loose a reign of oppression, spreading hatred and trying to divide our people along sectarian lines”. She said there was unprecedented turmoil as Constitution was being undermined and instruments of governance were being misused.
She added that the response of the police to student protests in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi had been “shockingly partisan and brutal”.
The 20 Opposition parties passed a resolution calling on the government to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Act, and stop the National Register of Citizens and National Population Register projects. They also discussed student protests and violence on campuses.
Last month, violence broke out after a protest march by students of Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia ended in a pitched battle with the Delhi Police. Buses were set on fire, and several students and police officers were injured. The police were accused of using excessive force and even assaulting students. Police also entered the Aligarh Muslim University campus the same evening after a clash broke out between them and students. They baton-charged students and used tear gas shells on them. Following this, protests against the amendments to the Citizenship Act and the alleged police brutality against the students swept campuses across India.