Days after his Ramlila Maidan address where he said there was no talk of NRC and that the Opposition was spreading “pernicious” rumours to instigate protesters against the new citizenship law, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday cited the violence and vandalism in a section of the protests to distinguish between “rights” and “responsibilities”.
Targeting those who resorted to violence and damaged public property in Uttar Pradesh during protests, Modi said they should “ask themselves if their path was right.”
Speaking in Lucknow after unveiling a bronze statue of Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Lok Bhawan and laying the foundation stone for a medical university named after the former Prime Minister, Modi said while people have the right (adhikar) to education, healthcare and secure environment, they also have duties (kartavya) and responsibilities (dayitva) towards teachers, doctors and the police force.
Focus on arson dents campaign
As the Opposition tries to pin the government over the killing of protesters in Uttar Pradesh, the Prime Minister and his party are trying to draw attention to acts of vandalism during the protests. The hope is that amplifying the violence will focus on the method more than the cause and dent the anti-CAA-NRC mobilisation.
At least 17 people have been killed and scores injured, including policemen, during protests across the state amid a police crackdown.
“Uttam shiksha hamara haq hai, lekin shiksha ke sansthano ki suraksha, shikshakon ka samman yeh hamara dayitva bhi hai… Chikitsa suvidha hamara haq hai, lekin doctoron ka sahyog aur samman karna hamara dayitva bhi hai… Surakshit mahaul milna hamara haq hai, lekin suraksha ke liye zimmedar police tantra ke kaam ko samman dena yeh hamara dayitva hai,” he said.
(“Good education is our right but keeping institutions of education safe and respecting teachers is our responsibility. Healthcare is our right but cooperating with doctors and respecting them is our responsibility. A secure environment is our right but respecting the police force responsible for security is our responsibility.”)
He said as the nation moves toward the 75th year of Independence, it is the need of the hour — “samay ki maang… waqt ki maang” — that emphasis be given not just on citizen rights but also duties and responsibilities. “Haq ki ek maryada hai, ek dayera hai, seema hai, lekin dayitva, kartavya ki bhavna bahut vyapak hai (right has sanctity, boundary, limit but responsibility and duty are broad),” he said.
“I am saying this because in Uttar Pradesh the way some people resorted to violence in the name of protests… and damaged government property… they should sit at home and ask themselves if their path was right… Whatever was torched, was it not for their child’s use? How must have the inured common people and policemen felt?”.
Referring to Article 370 as “purani bimari” (old disease) which his government “inherited” along with other “social, economic and political problems and challenges”, the Prime Minister said it was settled “easily”. The Ram Janmabhoomi issue, he said, was also resolved peacefully.
On the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Modi said granting citizenship to those who came to India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to “save the dignity of their daughters” was another problem, but 130 crore Indians found a solution. No matter how great the challenge, he said, “it is in our nature to challenge the challenge”.