Former Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, addressing thousands of participants at the ‘Young India Adhikar March’ on Thursday, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the last four and a half years has only been talking and making false promises, but in 2019 his “talktime” will get over as the youth of the nation would not let him get another “recharge”.
He said that the youth of the country needs to unite to oppose Mr. Modi and that election results in several States ahead of the Lok Sabha polls have shown that democracy was still alive and the “lifetime” recharge that BJP president Amit Shah had promised Mr. Modi was going to end.
Over 50 youth organisations from across the country participated in the rally that started from Red Fort and ended with a public meeting on Parliament Street. The youth demanded that all vacancies in government jobs be filled immediately and that at least 10% of the GDP be spent on education.
Rohith Act, GSCASH
They also demanded that a “Rohith Act” be introduced to end discrimination in educational institutes and that a Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment be set up on all campuses. Other issues like “scuttling” of reservation and privatisation of education were also raised.
The students spoke up against BJP leader Arun Jaitley’s claim that if there was a high rate of unemployment in India there would also be huge social unrest. Sucheta De from All India Students’ Association said, “Students from all the youth movements that have been active for the past four and a half years are here today at the rally and the government has tried to silence each and every movement. Mr. Jaitley needs to recognise the problems of his own country and this gathering is to show him that there is indeed great social unrest in the country.”
Independent MLA and Dalit activist Jignesh Mewani said that the 2019 election would be a “ghar vapsi” for Mr. Modi because of the youth movement, but said that no mater which party forms the government, the youth should demand that within the first 100 days all 24 lakh sanctioned vacancies be filled.
Several people who spoke at the rally gave a call for the youth to unite across the country. DMK MP Kanimozhi said, “It is heartening to see so many young people come together in one voice and oppose this fascist, intolerant government. We need to come together to protect our democracy from the people who try to silence anybody who raises voice against them.”
Mr. Kumar said that the youth of the country was not impatient and just as brands come up with new products every few months to make people forget about the old, the government creates new issues so that pending issues are forgotten. “We must not forget old promises and issues just because new issues are raised. We need to keep our movement alive irrespective of the new lies we are fed,” he said. He added that young India needs to campaign from door to door and expose the lies of the government.
The march was the outcome of several organisations coming together in December 2018 to form the Young India National Coordination Committee and organise a rally to raise issues that the youth are facing on the lines of the Kisan March held in the Capital in November 2018.