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RAISING THE pitch on the JNU row, the Congress on Thursday sought President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention to “check the state of lawlessness and subversion of democratic rights”.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who led a delegation of party leaders to the President, said the RSS was imposing a “flawed” and “dead” ideology on students, and accused the BJP government of “undermining democratic freedom and crushing voices” of dissent.
Responding to the BJP’s charge of supporting “traitors”, Rahul asserted that “nationalism” was in his blood and his family had made “sacrifices again and again for this country”.
“If somebody has said or done anything against the country, they should be punished according to the law,” he said. “But you cannot defame all the students and an entire institution like JNU… It is not the government’s job to destroy our educational institutions and crush expression of all students,” he said.
The RSS is “trying to impose a flawed ideology on students… Imposing this dead ideology on our students is the biggest crime that can be done,” he said.
Referring to the suicide of Hyderabad University student Rohith Vemula, Rahul said he was “crushed by the government because he expressed himself, and that is what is happening in every single university.” Media personnel are “thrashed”, people are beaten up inside court as the police just watch, and the government “remains complacent and silent,” he said.
“This is sending a very bad signal, not only in the country, but also abroad. It is damaging India’s image,” he said.
In a memorandum to the President, the party said “the country is gripped in a serious crisis” and the “scenes of utter lawlessness playing out on the premises of a court in the heart of the capital are an affront to the democratic ideals of this country.”
It said that some of those who unleashed violence in the court premises “are identified with the ruling dispensation on various fora”, and such lawlessness “cannot be but without the tacit support, encouragement or at best, the indifference of the ruling establishment”.
“The government’s complete failure in managing tensions and restoring law and order, and its refusal to protect the democratic rights of its citizens is a cause of deep concern to us,” it said.
“Over the last few months, the NDA government has displayed a dangerous tendency of undermining democratic freedoms and crushing the voices of those who do not share its views,” said the party, adding that across universities “students are being bullied and threatened, simply for holding views contrary to the ruling establishment.”
The delegation — which included Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarun Kharge and Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma — sought the President’s “assistance in ensuring that immediate action is taken to check the state of lawlessness and subversion of democratic rights”.