Left leader Sitaram Yechury on Thursday accused the government of charging students with sedition because it couldn’t tolerate dissent and wanted to enforce its ideology on everybody.
“What happened in JNU is not matter restricted to only one university. You have seen what happened in Pune, Allahabad, Jadavpur, various places,” Yechury said, participating in the ongoing debate in the Rajya Sabha on unrest in universities.
“The national flag in our hearts is much higher than 207 feet. We do not need for any certificate on patriotism. The tricolour in our hearts is much larger than all national flags put together,” said Yechury in Rajya Sabha which is debating the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at University of Hyderabad and students at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University being charged with sedition.
“What happened in JNU, in Hyderabad University is happening across India--what the government did in Rohith case was partisan intervention,” he alleged.
“Mahatma Gandhi went to jail under the sedition act; Bhagat Singh was martyred. You are using it (sedition law) against your students,” he alleged.
“You will see an effort in the field of education and higher education in general of what I would describe as an effort to replace Indian history with mythology, to replace the rich philosophy by Hindu theology. This is the larger project at work.” Yechury was quoted by IANS as saying.
“This is the project the government is patronising. The project of metamorphosing India’s secular democratic republic into what they call a Hindu Rashtra. This is an attack on Indian constitution,” said the leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
On Wednesday, HRD Minister Smriti Irani targeted the Congress and the Left after a debate on Vemula’s suicide and the JNU sedition row in the Lok Sabha.
Irani defended the action against JNU students, saying students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others had been found indulging in anti-national activities by the varsity authorities.
She also made an emotional pitch over Vemula’s suicide, insisting that her ministry had no role in his death and the deceased himself had said in his suicide note that nobody should be held responsible for his action.