What the country needs today is freedom from rioters , Communist Party of India leader and former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar said on Thursday.
Addressing a large gathering at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, which also concluded his Jan Gan Man yatra , Mr. Kumar said he was not against giving citizenship to someone, but he was certainly against the “business of hatred in the name of giving citizenship.”
Mr. Kumar has so far addressed as many as 62 public meetings in the course of his month-long yatra, covering all 38 districts of Bihar, to create awareness about Citizenship (Amendment) Act , National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register. Mr. Kumar had kicked-off the yatra from Bhitiharwa Gandhi Ashram of West Champaran district on January 30 along with State Congress leader and party MLA Shakeel Ahmad Khan and other CPI leaders.
Before addressing the meeting, Mr. Kumar requested all those present to observe a minute’s silence to condole those who died in northeast Delhi’s riots in the last four days. “Today in this country those who chant Gandhi zindabad have been sent to jail and those who say Godse zindabad have been sent to Parliament… We must remember that the Muslims of this country chose Gandhi and not Jinnah,” he said amid loud cheers and applause from the mostly young crowd.
Deviate and rule
He expressed surprise that some groups were taking out marches and rallies in support of the CAA. “How can one do this when the CAA has become a law now?… Protests by those who are against it is understandable, but by those in support of it is not.” The Britishers, he said, adopted the policy of divide and rule. But this BJP government’s policy was deviate and rule.
Mr.Kumar’s cavalcade was attacked nine times at different places during his Jan Gan Man yatra. Groups of youth shouting pro-CAA, NRC, NPR and “Kanhaiya Go Back” slogans threw stones, slippers, shoes, ink, eggs and engine oil at his entourage. Mr. Kumar escaped unhurt each time, but window panes of some vehicles in his carcade were damaged.
Medha slams Nitish
A large number of people, especially youth, turned up at every public meeting to hear Mr. Kumar. Former IAS officer Kannan Gopinath; Mahatma Gandhi’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi; social activists Medha Patkar and Shabnam Hashmi; State Congress leaders Shakeel Ahmad Khan and Awadhesh Narayan Singh; and a host of young student leaders too addressed the rally to the accompaniment of “azadi songs” popularized by Mr. Kumar.
Ms Patekar slammed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for “confusing the people” on CAA, NRC and NPR. “You [Nitish Kumar] have to make it clear whether you are with the BJP or the people of Bihar,” she said to loud cheers from the gathering.
Meanwhile, Union Minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh has also begun touring Seemanchal (border) areas of northeast Bihar to convince people of the need for CAA, NRC and NPR.