Strongly condemning the attack on a school bus by anti-Padmaavat protesters in Gurugram last evening, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that forces that “killed Muslims and burnt Dalits” are now “intruding into our homes, coming after our children”. The chief minister said it was imperative to “speak up” against “divisive forces” as people cannot afford to remain silent anymore like “they were” when Muslims and Dalits were targeted in the country in the past.
“I appeal to everyone. We cannot afford to remain silent anymore. They killed Muslims, burnt Dalits alive, thrashed them. Today, they have started pelting our children with stones, have started intruding into our homes. Don’t remain silent now, speak up,” Kejriwal said at a state-level event to celebrate Republic Day at north Delhi’s Chhatrasal Stadium.
In the nearly 40-minute-long speech, marked by a combative tone, Kejriwal said it was a matter of “shame” that schoolchildren were pelted with stones a few kilometres from the national capital ahead of the Republic Day. Kejriwal said people involved in yesterday’s incident should be given strong punishment, “harsher than the punishment Lord Rama had given to Ravana”.
“It is the land of Rama, Krishna, Gautam Buddhha, Mahavira, Guru Nanak, Kabir and Meera, followers of Prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ. I want to ask were the people who hurled stones Hindus, Muslims or Christians? Which religion preaches violence against children?
“I am raising this issue ahead of Republic Day with a heavy heart as I love my nation. I cannot see such violence in the country. People here love their country and want peace and love. I request the powers at the Centre (Hukum Marano), please spare us,” he said.