Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said that students can agitate against the CAA and the NRC in the state as long as their protest stays peaceful.
The CM said nobody will be allowed to disturb peace at any cost, while reacting to a protest call given by student unions for January 1 in universities and colleges across the state.
“Holding protests is the democratic right of every citizen and people, including students, are within their right to stage a peaceful dharna, march etc. against draconian initiatives of the central government, as long as such protests are conducted peacefully,” Singh said in a statement here.
He said as long as the protesters did not take law into their hands, police would not prevent them from carrying out their proposed agitation.
Police had been directed to come down heavily against any attempt by the protesters to vandalise public property or otherwise indulge in any violence, Singh said.
The Punjab CM also urged student leaders to keep a check on possible infiltration of “goonda” elements and ensure that the proposed protest was carried out peacefully.
Peaceful protests in some other states had ended up in violence due to such infiltrations, he stressed.
Singh said police would maintain strict vigil not just in and around universities but also public places across the state throughout the day.
During a dharna organised by the Punjab Congress in Ludhiana on Monday, the chief minister had reiterated that the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act would not be allowed to be implemented in the state under any circumstances.
The CM had said that his government was opposed to the CAA and the National Register of Citizens in view of their “divisive and discriminatory nature.”
Protests against CAA that were earlier confined to the northeast, have swept the country over the past two weeks after several protesters, including students clashed with the police in Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia on December 15.
The amended law seeks to provide citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have faced religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and have arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014.