New Delhi: CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury on Thursday accused the BJP-led NDA government of attempting to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra and demanded that a house committee probe the issues arising out of the unrest in JNU, Hyderabad University and other institutions.
The government’s undue “interference which is not sanctioned by the law” in the working of the educational institutions is aimed at promoting their agenda of Hindu Rashtra, Yechury said while initiating a debate in the Rajya Sabha over unrest in Hyderabad University, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and other institutions.
“It’s an effort to replace secular India with a Hindu nation,” he said.
The incidents at JNU, where the police acted against some students accused of sedition, and the circumstances of the suicide by Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar of Hyderabad University, were not isolated ones and were a part of a larger game plan, the Communist Party of India-Marxist leader said.
“What happened in JNU is not a matter restricted to only one university. You have seen what happened in Pune, Allahabad, and at various other places,” he added, saying that the constitution was being violated and it must not be allowed to happen.
Referring to the government’s plan to install the national flag in all central universities, he said a “much larger Tricolour” was in his heart.
Yechury, however, supported action against any anti-national element in the educational institutions, saying if there was anything of that sort happening, then it must be dealt with according to the law.
He said the allegations against JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and other students did not merit invocation of the law of sedition.
He criticised the government and the Delhi Police for their alleged inaction against those who attacked students and journalists in Patiala House court in Delhi where Kanhaiya Kumar had been produced.
“Delhi Police chief says that the students are guilty unless proven otherwise. This is against the existing system which says the accused is not guilty unless proven otherwise,” he said and wondered, “What is happening in the country”.
In his over 25-minute speech, Yechury said if raising slogans was an anti-national activity, then he too would like to raise some and was ready to be arrested.
“We want freedom from hunger. We want freedom from Manuwad,” he said while repeating his demand to have a house committee to probe the incidents at JNU and Hyderabad University.
Seeking to defend the government’s action, Bhupender Yadav of the BJP said the accused students of JNU were raising slogans against the country and hence the arrests.
“Yechury ji you should know whether they were raising slogans for freedom of speech or speech for freedom,” he said.
Yadav said the government did not want to close down the JNU as was being alleged by some people.
The debate on the issue would continue as the house took up other business after 12 pm.