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Padmaavat row: Killed Muslims, Dalits and are now coming for our kids, says Kejriwal

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s remarks come a day after protesters calling for a ban on the controversial period drama Padmaavat attacked a school bus carrying school students in Gurgaon.

delhi Updated: Jan 25, 2018 21:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Padmaavat,Arvind Kejriwal,Karni Sena violence
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal (PTI File Photo)

New Delhi

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday it was imperative to speak against the forces that “killed Muslims and burnt Dalits” and are now “intruding into our homes, coming after our children” as he condemned the attack on a school bus by a mob protesting the release of Padmaavat in Gurgaon.

Kejriwal said people “cannot afford to remain silent anymore” as they were when people were targeted in the country on the basis of their religion and caste in the past.

“I appeal to everyone ... Today, they have started pelting our children with stones, have started intruding into our homes. Don’t remain silent now, speak up,” he said during an event to celebrate Republic Day at north Delhi’s Chhatrasal Stadium.

Students of a private school had a narrow escape when protesters attacked two buses in Gurgaon on Wednesday allegedly protesting against the controversial period drama about the legendary Rajput queen Padmini.

Kejriwal said he saw the videos of the attack on children as their teachers tried to save them by making them hide under the bus seats. He said it was a matter of “shame” that the schoolchildren were pelted with stones just a few kilometres from the national capital ahead of Republic Day.

The CM said people involved in Wednesday’s incident should be given punishment “harsher than the punishment Lord Rama had given to Ravana”.

“It is the land of Rama, Krishna, Gautam Buddha, 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?” he asked.

“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, please spare us,” he said.

The Delhi chief minister said there should not be any political interference in constitutional bodies otherwise they will not be able to perform their duties, in a veiled attack on the move of Election Commission disqualifying 20 MLAs of his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). “Constitutional institutions in the country are good but politics is not. There should not be political interference,” he said.

“Across the country, crime against women is increasing. The Delhi Commission for Women along with police did a remarkable job by rescuing so many women in the city. They could do that because we did not interfere in their work,” he said.

Reiterating AAP’s stand against the ongoing sealing drive in Delhi by BJP-led municipal corporations, Kejriwal said “harassment” of traders should stop and the action against should stop.

“These days’ traders are facing a lot of problems because of sealing drives. Sealing is happening due to flaws in the laws (Master Plan). I appeal the central government with folded hands to either amend the Master Plan or bring an ordinance, if required, to stop the sealing drive,” Kejriwal said adding “We (Delhi government) will extend its full cooperation to the centre in this regard.”

Listing the AAP government’s achievements in the education sector, Kejriwal said that “revolutionary works” were done in the field of education and standard of government schools were improved.

“I appeal (education minister) Manish Sisodia to reduce burden of studies on students by 50%. More focus should be on making students a good human being and a person who respects women,” the CM said amid a huge round of applause.

First Published: Jan 25, 2018 15:04 IST