Police crackdown on Jamia students a blot on nation, says Shashi Tharoor
Attacking the CAA, the Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor said the Centre’s step is discriminatory and an effort to marginalise “one community”.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has called the December 15 police action on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia, a blot on the nation. Tharoor made the comments on Sunday in New Delhi while addressing a group of students from the university, protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
“Whatever happened on December 15, is a blot on nation. Without any provocation, without any intimation to the vice chancellor, they (police) entered hostels and attacked women students. Students studying in library were attacked, which is a ‘shame, shame, shame’ and not acceptable at all,” he told the cheering crowd.
Hundreds of students and teachers have been protesting outside the varsity gate no-7 since December 15, when several students were injured in violent clashes with the Delhi police.
Tharoor said the CAA was “discriminatory” and against the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi, who sacrificed his life for the unity of the nation and for the unity of Hindus and Muslims.
WATCH | Anti-CAA protest: Congress’ Shashi Tharoor joins stir at Jamia, Shaheen Bagh
“India, which Mahatma Gandhi wanted to see, will not be the India after the introduction of religion in the CAA,” he said, before launching a stinging attack on the Narendra Modi government.
“What has been done by the government is discriminatory and is an effort to marginalise one community in India. That is why we had opposed the introduction of the bill in the Parliament, as it brought for the first time religion in the Citizenship Act,” he said.
Tharoor said Indian citizenship can’t be decided on the basis of religion.
“Religion was nowhere mentioned in the Citizenship Act until the BJP-led government incorporated it in the CAA. This is not something we can accept,” he said.
Tharoor, was accompanied by Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Chopra, who said the CAA will be followed by all-India National Register of Citizens, which he claimed singles out one community for proving its citizenship.
Tharoor said the protesting students of Jamia were “the hope of the nation”. He reminded the students about Jamia’s history of resistance to the British rule and its association with Gandhi’s Khilafat Movement.
“You all should know that when Gandhi came here, he had said Jamia should continue fighting and if it needs money, I will go with a begging bowl and I will save Jamia. Today Jamia is one of the great universities of our country,” Tharoor said.
Tharoor said the spirit of resistance shown by Jamia was an inspiration to all who believed in democracy.
“We stand with you. We stand with the courage you have shown and the faith you have shown in the Constitution of India,” he said to loud cheers.
The police had entered the varsity library on December 15 and forcibly evicted students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The students alleged they were roughed up, while the police claimed that several miscreants who had attacked police with stones were hiding among the students.