Protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh came under fire from Union Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday, where he accused “a few hundred people” of trying to suppress the views of a “peaceful majority”, while hitting out at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and state’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for being on the side of the “Tukde Tukde Gang.”
At a press briefing he said, “Shaheen Bagh is emerging as a textbook case of a few hundred people seeking to suppress the peaceful majority. This is the true face of Shaheen Bagh and uncovering it in front of the country is very important. Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal are both silent on this issue.”
Prasad further said, “It is offering platform to ‘tukde tukde gang’ elements under the garb of opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. This protest is not just a protest against CAA it is a protest against Modi.”
“Lakhs of people are distressed because they cannot go to office, shops are shut and their children are not able to go to school due to road block by Shaheen Bagh protesters,” he said.
Delhi CM Kejriwal responded to Prasad’s charges with a tweet (in Hindi). He said, “Many people are facing difficulties because of the Shaheen Bagh protest.The BJP does not want the road to open, it is indulging in dirty politics instead. BJP leaders should immediately go to Shaheen Bagh to hold discussions and the get the road opened.”
The protestors at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi have been sitting-in for over a month now, demanding to rollback the Citizenship Amendment Act, which was passed by both the Houses of Parliament last month. They seem to be rigid on their stand and are not willing to quit without any concrete decision on the Act.
However, no serious efforts to convince the protesters have been seen yet from the authorities except some low-rung police officers persuading them. Meanwhile, the protesters are looking ahead for the January 22 Supreme Court hearing on the matter.
According to the new law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The opposition parties have termed the legislation as “unconstitutional” which “is aimed at diverting attention from the burning issues of the common people”.
Those opposing the amended law say it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA, along with the proposed pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC), is intended to target India’s Muslim community.
In its campaign for the assembly polls in the national capital, the BJP has often raised the issue of the AAP government so far not grating the Delhi Police its nod to prosecute the accused in the case of raising seditious slogans in the Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2016, and Rahul Gandhi of siding with the (then) JNU students.
Delhi police on January 14, 2019, had filed a 1,200-page chargesheet against Kanhaiya Kumar for allegedly holding an “anti-national” event at the JNU in Delhi in February 2016. Umar Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya and seven students from Jammu and Kashmir, Aquib Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, Muneeb Hussain, Umar Gul, Rayeea Rassol, Bashir Bhat and Basharat, were also named in the chargesheet.
The students were accused of organising an event on the campus against the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru. Their arrests had triggered a huge controversy with the opposition slamming the police for “working at the behest of the ruling BJP.”
Both Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid have said the case against them was “politically motivated,” and the video showing them leading a procession and supported seditious slogans were doctored and circulated in order to implicate them in the case.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has responded to a Right to Information (RTI) filed by activist Saket Gokhale this month, saying that the “Ministry of Home Affairs has no information concerning Tukde-Tukde Gang.”