[New Delhi: Umar Khalid speaks at a protest march against ABVP in New Delhi on Saturday. Missing JNU student Najeeb’s mother is also seen. /PTI]
New Delhi, March 4 : Joining a protest march of students here against what they called “bid to curb freedom of speech and expression in academic institutions”, the Opposition on Saturday attacked the government accusing it of “fascist politics”.
The opposition parties also said that they would raise the issue in Parliament.
A large number of students walked from Mandi House to Parliament in the national capital, raising slogans against alleged violence by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and its student body Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on the campus.
The protesters were joined by CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI National Secretary D. Raja, Janata Dal Chief General Secretary and National Spokesperson K.C. Tyagi, Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj India Party and professors of Delhi University (DU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
Raja attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying these “fascists (BJP) never believed in democracy”. “It is our country and we have to fight against these fascist and dictatorial forces,” he said.
“They (BJP) have no respect for constitutional morality. We cannot expect it from ABVP and BJP. We will ask government what they want to do with the student community.
“You are not just students, you can vote. You have a right to decide who should rule. We will continue our fight against fascist forces for the sake of our country,” Raja said.
Yechury said this issue would be raised in Parliament. “Whatever you decide, it’s your right. No one can take it away from you. You are the future. You will have to decide tomorrow the kind of nation you want.”
Tyagi assured the students that their concerns would be raised in Parliament “more forcefully”.
Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid, accused of seditious speech, also slammed the government saying “fascist politics” was going on in the nation.
“Today, fascist politics based on lies is going on in the nation. M. Venkaiah Naidu (union minister) is saying they will bring ‘Azadi’ slogan under sedition law.
“These are the people who said why students indulge in politics, they should study. They should then first shut down their student wing ABVP,” said Khalid.
“The government does not have any problem with politics, but they just can’t tolerate politics of resistance, politics of dissent,” he said, adding that they did not have any problem with the politics of those who agreed with their ideology.
“If they take away our rights, we will indulge in politics. We have our differences. If we don’t unite, we won’t survive. If we do, they won’t,” Khalid said during the protest.
This was part of a series of protests being organised by different student organisations in the wake of the February 22 disturbances at Ramjas College.
Clashes had erupted at the college between two student bodies after the ABVP forced suspension of an event to be addressed by Umar Khalid.