Anti-CAA protests: Centre ‘muzzling’ dissent, says Congress

Updated - November 28, 2021 10:51 am IST

Published - December 19, 2019 10:31 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. File

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. File

The Congress on Thursday accused the Union Government of “muzzling the voice of the people by resorting to draconian measures” including shutting down mobile Internet services and putting up barricades to prevent people from reaching protest sites against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).


The party claimed that the government was trying to impose the “Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) model of normalcy” in other parts of the country by shutting down Internet.

Former party chief Rahul Gandhi said the government had no right to “suppress people’s voices.”

“This government has no right to shut down colleges, telephones & the Internet, to halt metro trains and to impose #Section144 to suppress India's voice & prevent peaceful protests. To do so is an insult to India’s soul,” tweeted Mr. Gandhi, who is away in South Korea leading a party delegation.

Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said there will be a greater fight- back by citizens if the government tries to ‘silence’ them.

“Every time force is applied to dominate and rule, every time you beat and suppress, every time you push people to the wall, they will rise up stronger, their resolve will strengthen and their voice will grow louder,” Ms. Vadra tweeted in Hindi.

“Our freedom movement was proof of this, our constitution is the guarantor of it and our people are the soul of it,” she added.


In a series of tweets, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram condemned the police for preventing citizens including historian Ramachandra Guha from peacefully protesting in Bengaluru.

“What are at stake — liberty, equality, constitutional morality — are so important that we must seize the moment and push back the authoritarian regime,” Mr. Chidambaram tweeted and added, “Ram Guha was not violating any law when he was arrested. He was alone! Sec 144 ‘prohibition’ was not attracted. It is the four policemen who surrounded him who made the solitary peaceful citizen into an ‘unlawful assembly’!”.

He said shutting down Internet and stopping people’s protest was a matter of shame.

“In the year that we have just celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the right of peaceful assembly and protest has been taken away from the people of this country. There can be no greater shame!”said the former Finance Minister.


Addressing a press conference, Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi gave out statistics about the dramatic increase in Internet shutdowns since the BJP government came to power in 2014; from three instances of shutdown in 2012 to 134 times in 2018 to 94 times this year so far.

“That tells you its own story. That tells that you want to crush dissent,” said Mr. Singhvi.

“You have redefined a new definition of normalcy, the J&K definition on normalcy now prevails in the rest of the country,” he added.

“It is the democratic right of every citizen to protest peacefully against the government. Imposing Section 144 and Internet shutdowns are draconian measures to muzzle citizens by a government that is terrified of hearing what Indians have to say. BJP should be ashamed,” the official handle of Congress tweeted.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.