Union minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday claimed that the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party’s support for the Shaheen Bagh protest in Delhi showed that it was their “handiwork”, ANI reported.
“Yesterday, what Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said showed that Shaheen Bagh is the handiwork of Congress and AAP,” Javadekar said while addressing a press conference in Delhi.
The minister claimed efforts were being made to mislead people. “Slogans like ‘Jinnah wali Azadi’ are being raised,” he added. “People need to decide what they want – Jinnah wali Azadi or Bharat mata ki jai”.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party, Congress and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan speak in the same language. “Imran Khan raises the same questions that AAP and Congress do,” Javadekar said. “We condemn this sort of politics.”
Shaheen Bagh locality in Delhi has emerged as the epicentre of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens. Protestors, mostly women and children, have been holding demonstrations for over a month now.
Sisodia had expressed solidarity with the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protestors at Shaheen Bagh on Thursday. Meanwhile, Kejriwal had accused the Centre of using the amended citizenship law to divide people as they were unable to solve the problem of unemployment and economic crisis in the country.
Assembly elections will be held in Delhi for all 70 seats on February 8. The results will be declared on February 11. The Aam Aadmi Party had won 67 of the 70 seats in the 2015 polls.
This is not the first time a reference to Pakistan or Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah has been made in recent weeks in the context of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. On Thursday, BJP leader Kapil Mishra had referred to the Delhi elections as a match between India and Pakistan. He also claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party and Congress have created “mini-Pakistans” like Shaheen Bagh.
On January 10, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra claimed that a video clip doing the rounds on social media shows protestors chanting “Jinnah wali azadi”, India Today reported. The news channel said the video seemed to have been shot at Shaheen Bagh. While the words “Nehru wali azadi” and “Gandhi wali azadi” could be heard clearly, Patra claimed that the people were chanting “Jinnah-wali azadi” and thus were anti-India.
On December 15, at a rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had taken a jibe at Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar, saying that his name was not “Rahul Savarkar”. In response, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said a more appropriate name for Rahul Gandhi would be Rahul Jinnah.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11 and notified by the Centre on January 10, 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, leading to protests against it. At least 26 people died in the protests last month – 19 in Uttar Pradesh, five in Assam and two in Karnataka.