Political blame game as students erupt across the nation

Urvi Bhatt
December 16, 2019 |
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CAB Protest

New Delhi — As students erupted across the country for the second day, the political blame game kicked in. While on Sunday Jamia Millia Islamia students in Delhi and students at Aligarh Muslim University were protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act, on Monday, the protests were about the alleged action by the police on Jamia students.

Mamata Banerjee & Pinarayi Vijayan, courtesy: Indian Express

Joining the raised voices were politicians. From West Bengal to Kerala, where chief ministers Mamata Banerjee and Pinarayi Vijayan led marches in their states, to press conferences by the Opposition in the capital.

Meanwhile, as anger grew across states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah made placatory noises.

The PM tweeted, ‘This is the time to maintain peace, unity and brotherhood. It is my appeal to everyone to stay away from any sort of rumour mongering and falsehoods..

Another tweet reads “The need of the hour is for all of us to work together for the development of India and the empowerment of every Indian, especially the poor, downtrodden and marginalized. We cannot allow vested interest groups to divide us and create disturbance. ”

PM also stated “I want to unequivocally assure my fellow Indians that CAA does not affect any citizen of India of any religion. No Indian has anything to worry regarding this Act. This Act is only for those who have faced years of persecution outside and have no other place to go except India.”

The Home Minister, campaigning in Jharkhand while various universities in the country erupt over the alleged actions of the Delhi Police – a force that the Home Minister heads – sought to dispel what he said were misconceptions about the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Echoing PM Narendra Modi, he said at a rally, ‘This (the Act) is to give citizenship to the poor, don’t get misled by rumours.’

But his absence from the capital as it burns under the anger of students was questioned by the Opposition at a joint press conference. Left leader Sitaram Yechury asked, ‘Who gave the order for the police to enter the university? Whoever gave the order should be punished. The Home Minister is directly in charge. Where has he been for the past two days?’

The BJP held a counter press conference, where spokesperson Sambit Patra said the opposition was misleading people, giving every issue ‘a Hindu-Muslim angle’. ‘They are using students as pawns,’ he said.

Meanwhile in Bengal, Chief Minister marched across streets, daring the Narendra Modi government to dismiss her. Speaking at a rally after the march, she said, ‘What happened in Jamia was a dirty deed. Our revolution will continue. I am here for you. NRC and CAA will only happen over my dead body.’

The Kerala Chief Minister, who has already declared that he will not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act in his state said,

‘Our government’s commitment is to the Constitution, not the RSS agenda.’

But the BJP government is facing opposition not just from the Opposition, but from within the NDA too. Joining the AGP in Assam, on Monday it was the Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Badal who said Muslims should also be covered by the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Meanwhile in Assam, amidst the protests, one party has discovered its political ambitions. The All Assam Students Union, which has been leading the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state, has now hinted that it might launch a political party as an alternative to the ruling BJP and AGP and the Congress.