Congress accuses BJP of gagging students

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) The Congress on Friday accused the BJP and the RSS of raising nationalism “as a bogey to repress students and gag campuses” and said it was totally unacceptable.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said in a statement here that the party was deeply concerned that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Sangh Parivar outfits and the Bharatiya Janata Party were “treating youth as experimental guinea pigs in the laboratory of divisiveness”.

Singhvi alleged that a national spokesperson of the BJP showed a doctored video “on national television (Times Now and NewsX)” to provide “clinching evidence” against protesting students.

“It comes out now through another video aired by national TV channels (ABP News and India Today), that the purported video was doctored, wherein words were replaced. The students were shouting slogans demanding freedom (azadi) from feudal forces (samantvaad), freedom from hunger, freedom from poverty and freedom from Sanghvad (RSS ideology)!”

“Are these slogans anti India? Do these slogans make people chanting them, anti-national,” Singhvi asked.

The agitations follows arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union leader 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.

Singhvi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come clear on the authenticity of the video shown by his party’s spokesperson and “apologise to the nation”.

He also sought action against the concerned spokesperson.

Singhvi alleged that the RSS was trying a “new ploy of masking their bigoted ideology into nationalism and trying to fit its ideology into the minds of the people through repression and coercion”.

He said the party strongly condemned all kinds of anti-national activities and demands strict action in such cases.

“But raising nationalism as a bogey to repress students and gag campuses is totally unacceptable to the polity of this nation,” he said.

“A government with a clear majority mandate of the people has turned against the people themselves. It is for the first time since 1989, that the youth and students of India are being treated as experimental guinea pigs in the RSS/BJP laboratory of divisiveness by pitting one against the other,” he said.

Singhvi said the advocate identified on national television as the person assaulting journalists and students on two different days had been facilitated with garlands instead of being arrested.

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