Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday accused the BJP-led government of “unleashing its divisive agenda by generating a wholly unwarranted debate on patriotism and nationalism” to cover up its failures.
Claiming that courts are being turned into “akharas (wrestling arenas)”, she also charged the Narendra Modi government with “muzzling the voice” of the opposition, civil society, organisations and now, students.
“It (BJP government) seems hell-bent on destroying the spirit of inquiry, the spirit of questioning, the spirit of debate and dissent,” Gandhi said, addressing a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body. “First, it muzzled our voice in the Lok Sabha. Then it silenced civil society activists and organisations. Now is the turn of universities.”
Gandhi’s remarks came in the wake of the outrage over the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar in a sedition case and the attack on students, teachers and journalists at Patiala House court complex on February 15.
The CWC also passed a resolution accusing the RSS of targeting educational institutions to impose its ideology in universities and colleges.
The CWC unanimously endorsed Rahul Gandhi’s February 13 visit to JNU to meet students protesting Kanhaiya’s arrest. The visit was criticised by the ruling BJP, with its chief Amit Shah accusing the Congress vice-president of supporting “separatists” and asking whether he wanted another division of the country. At the meeting, Rahul intervened briefly and mentioned the JNU incident.