‘Majoritarianism is not patriotism,’ said Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government for arresting students of New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on sedition charges.
Three students of the premier institution were arrested for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event organised to commemorate hanging of Afzal Guru, the 2001 parliament attack convicted who was hanged.
“If the country has to progress, the youth should be allowed to speak,” said Sibal at a talk show on ‘Constitution and Patriotism’ in Bhopal.
“When people are young they are excitable. There was no need for the police to go to the (Jawaharlal Nehru) university and (the issue) should have been handled by the vice chancellor,” the senior lawyer said.
The former Union minister in Congress-led government said it was important to allow diverse voices coexist in a democracy. “Patriotism is a complex term and cannot be easily defined…Let a thousand flowers bloom is patriotism,” he said.
“My patriotism is towards the nation, not towards the government. The government in fact needs to be brought down.”
In a veiled attack on Union HRD minister Smriti Irani, Sibal said parliament seems like a “theatre.” In her fiery and dramatic speech in Lok Sabha recently, Irani strongly defended her government which is facing flak over slapping sedition charges on JNU students and the suicide of Hyderabad Central University (HCU) Dalit student Rohith Vemula.
Berating the media for its coverage of the JNU controversy, the Congress leader said he had stopped watching news channels two years ago.
Sibal accompanied by former additional solicitor general Vivek Tankha interacted with a host of lawyers, doctors, journalists and students during the talk show organized at Samanvaya Bhawan.
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People are competing for fewer government jobs and this has created tensions between communities…It is easy to show a dream and form a government, but the government will have to work towards making it come true