Congress says doesn’t need lessons in patriotism

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New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The Congress on Monday said it does not need lessons in patriotism from those “who are inheritors of the thought process of Nathuram Godse”, while responding to BJP president Amit Shah’s criticism of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi over the JNU row.

“Those who killed the thought process of Mahatma Gandhi and those who are inheritors of the thought process of Nathuram Godse (who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi) need not teach the nation and the Congress new definition of patriotism,” Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters.

Surjewala also attacked the previous BJP-led NDA government over the Kargil intrusion, terror attack on parliament in 2001 and release of Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Masood Azhar and the present NDA government over the terror attacks at Udhampur, Dinanagar and Pathankot.

He said the BJP’s ideological fountainhead RSS hoisted the tricolour at its headquarters 52 years after independence.

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“The Indian National Congress has a stellar record in living and dying for the integrity of this country, both prior to independence and in the years after independence,” Surjewala said.

He said the Congress was the inheritor of an ideology in which Indira Gandhi and many other leaders had fought terrorism and made the supreme sacrifice.

The Congress leader said anyone who had committed a wrong at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) should be punished, but “it’s not true at all that anyone who raises voice against the Modi government is anti-national”.

“There is freedom of expression in the country. Rahul Gandhi has similar views,” he said.

When a handful of people raised anti-India slogans on the JNU campus, the Congress strongly condemned it and demanded that action be taken against them, the spokesman said.

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The Congress leader said India was strong enough to give fair treatment and a fair trial to its worst enemies.

“If that was not our belief and if that was not part of our founding ethos, then (parliament attack convict) Afzal Guru would not have been convicted up to the Supreme Court and punished through due process.”

Surjewala said the Narendra Modi government, which received an overwhelming mandate in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, has disappointed not only the Congress but the entire country.

He alleged that the Modi government was suppressing the voice of democracy and said its attitude was visible during protests in various parts of the country.

The government, he said, “should abandon the path of suppressing voices opposed to it” and focus on governance.

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Amit Shah in a blog said no citizen can accept that a terrorist is favoured and anti-India slogans raised at a prestigious university of the country.

“But the kind of statements that Rahul Gandhi and his party colleagues have delivered at the campus proves that there is no place for national interest in their thinking,” Shah said.

JNU has been on the boil over the arrest of its students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges. The controversy started when some students organised a meet on February 9 to mark the anniversaries of the executions of Afzal Guru and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front co-founder Maqbool Bhat. Anti-India slogans were reportedly raised at the gathering.

Delhi Police on Thursday registered a sedition case and arrested Kanhaiya Kumar. He was sent to three days police custody on Friday although he denied raising anti-India slogans.

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