New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday alleged that the “barbaric and inhuman attack” on journalists, students and teachers at the Patiala House Court was carried out by “BJP goons” and said Delhi police remained “a mute spectator”.
In a statement, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said the BJP was “muzzling” the voice of India’s youth, students, teachers, journalists, opposition and every individual or organisation that questions “subjugation of disagreement or paralysis of governance”.
“All such individuals or organisations are conveniently targeted by calling them ‘anti-national’ or ‘naxalites’. May we remind that the same pattern was adopted during FTII protests, when the protesting students were called ‘naxals’,” Sibal said.
“Students of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle in IIT Madras were banned merely because they dared to criticise Narendra Modi. Students like Rohith Vemula and others were persecuted on the campus of Hyderabad Central University,” he alleged.
He said that instead of taking action against a handful of those responsible for shouting anti-India slogans on the JNU campus, “identical pattern is being repeated by branding the entire JNU as ‘anti-national'”.
“The Congress condemns the barbaric and inhuman attack in Patiala House Court yesterday (Monday) on journalists, young students and teachers by BJP goons led by their MLA O.P. Sharma.
“Delhi police remained a mute spectator as students, teachers and journalists were assaulted and thrashed with impunity, inside the court rooms, in the court complex and outside it,” Sibal alleged.
The violence took place on Monday when journalists were at the court premises to cover court proceedings concerning JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar.
The JNU has been on the boil over Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest on sedition charges. The controversy began when some JNU students organised a meet on February 9 to mark the anniversaries of executions of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front co-founder Maqbool Bhat. Anti-India slogans were reportedly raised at the gathering.
Sibal said the Congress condemns the “culture of violence and hooliganism” unleashed by the Modi government.
“The truth is that the government is hell-bent upon destroying the autonomy of all premier educational institutions as also the spirit of students to ideate, debate, express and disagree,” he said.
He alleged that the Modi government was blindly following an “obscurantist agenda” set by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Sibal alleged that events at JNU by the BJP and its related organisations were ploys to divert attention from “paralysis of governance and grave economic crisis” faced by the country.
Asserting that the Congress does not need lessons in patriotism, Sibal said the government did not take action over objectionable statements by BJP’s elected representatives including Sakshi Maharaj.
“What about filing sedition charges against all those who fly ISIS and Pakistani flags and shout anti-India slogans in Jammu and Kashmir?” he asked.
Sibal called upon the Modi government to “stop hoodwinking people of India and stop suppressing the freedom of expression, right to debate, to ideate and criticize on part of the young and students of India”.