Rahul Gandhi on Saturday accused NDA government of “suppressing” students’ voice as he visited the JNU campus to express solidarity with them, a day after the arrest of its students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar in a sedition case.
The Congress Vice President, who had yesterday accused the Modi government of “bullying” the institution, scaled up the attack saying “most anti-national are people, who are suppressing the voice of students in this institution”.
Accompanied by Delhi PCC chief and former Union minister Anand Sharma, Rahul interacted with the agitating students and lauded the university for representing free voice.
Drawing parallel between the actions against students in JNU and events leading to the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad University, he said the question is why a student is “not allowed to say what he believes in”.
Noting that India is progressing because more and more people are raising their voice, Rahul said that everybody has a right to disagree.
Making repeated reference to Vemula’s suicide and targetting the government especially HRD Minister Smriti Irani on the issue, he said, “A youngster expresses his views and the government says he is anti-national. Later the minister turns around and say you are not even a Dalit.”
In his speech marked by frequent disruptions, Rahul said that he will be happy to see even people from RSS and BJP express their opinion.
“We respect voices that are raised in front of our voice. We also respect what is raised behind our back,” he said.
Training his guns on the government, he said, “They will not understand that in crushing you, they are making you stronger.”
The Congress Vice President had yesterday tweeted “Modi Govt & ABVP bullying an institution like JNU simply because it won’t toe their line is completely condemnable.
“While Anti-India sentiment is unquestionably unacceptable, the right to dissent & debate is an essential ingredient of democracy.”
Kumar was arrested over an event at the JNU campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, sparking massive outrage among students and criticism from non-BJP parties which dubbed it as an “Emergency-like” situation.
Invoking Adolf Hitler, Rahul said that suppressing voice by the Nazi ruler left Germany in rubbles.
“We do not have problem if RSS and BJP want to express their opinion. We just want to tell them if they will listen to us, they will be convinced by us... they are simply crushing voices,” Rahul said.
His visit was opposed by members of ABVP, who waved black flags when he spoke. Taking note of it, he said, “People who showed black flags on my face, I feel proud that in my country they have the right to show black flags.”