Rahul seeks Prez's intervention to check 'lawlessness'

Last Updated 18 February 2016, 12:53 IST
Upping the ante on the JNU row and Patiala House court violence, Rahul Gandhi today dubbed them as a "blot" on India's image and sought President Pranab Mukherjee's intervention for immediate action to "check  the state of lawlessness and subversion of democratic rights".

"It is not the Government's job to destroy our educational institutions and crush expression of all students. Across the country, RSS is trying to impose a flawed ideology on the students of this country," he told reporters here.

Leading a delegation of party leaders to the President, the Congress Vice President also launched a counter attack on the BJP for its "anti-national" dig at him, asserting that "nationalism is in my blood. I have seen my family sacrifice again and again and again for this nation."

"The country is gripped in a serious crisis…The scenes of utter lawlessness playing out on the premises of the court in the heart of the capital are an affront to the democratic ideals of the country" the delegation said in a memorandum submitted to the President.

Besides the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, the delegation included Leader of the party in Lok Sabha Mallikarun Kharge, Deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma besides senior leaders Shiela Dixit, Randeep Surjewala Ajay Maken and Manish Tewari.

They told the President that despite a "direct order" from the Supreme Court to ensure adequate security outside Patiala House court, the government has "refused" to prevent attacks on journalists and students. The Supreme Court- appointed panel to assess the situation was itself subjected to abuse and assault.

"Such lawlessness in defiance of a Supreme Court directive on two occasions by the same set of people, some of whom are identified with the ruling dispensation on various fora, cannot be but without the tacit support, encouragement or at best, the indifference of the ruling establishment", it told the President.

Expressing concern over the incident, the Congress leaders sought President's "assistance in ensuring that immediate action is taken to check the state of lawlessness and subversion of democratic rights".

Alleging that across the country, whether in JNU or Hyderabad Central University, in FTII and other places of learning, students are being "bullied and threatened", the delegation told the President that "As the patron of Universities, we call upon you to protect their freedom and uphold the values that built our nation".

Gandhi said if somebody has said anything against thie nation, they should be punished according to law.

He also referred to the suicide by Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad and accused the government of "crushing" him.

The Congress Vice President expressed concern that people were being beaten inside the Court and the police are "just watching."

"This is sending a very, very bad signal not only in this country but also abroad. It is damaging India's image and is putting a blot on it", he said.

Seeking President's intervention, the party said as representatives of people, it cannot "stand by quietly" as the government fails to do its duty.

The Congress delegation told the President that it was a matter of concern that journalists, students and teachers are being physically assaulted inside and outside the court premises by a BJP legislator and workers "while the police look the other way and the government remains complacent and silent".

"The Government's complete failure in managing tensions and restoring law and order and its refusal to protect the democratic rights of its citizens is a cause of deep concern to us", the memorandum said.

Asserting that the Congress will defend the rights of students everywhere, Congress said RSS was trying to impose its "flawed" and "dead" ideology on the students of the country but his party will not allow it.

"This country grows and prospers because of students' imagination, because of their belief and because of their dreams and imposing this dead ideology on top of our students is the biggest crime that can be done", he said.

Gandhi alleged Rohith Vemula was "crushed" by the Government because he expressed himself and "that is happening in every single University".

"Most worringly, such intimidation and violence is taking place with alarming regularity in our universities, which are meant to nurture new ideas, encourage debate and discussion", the memorandum said alleging that this was happening simply for holding views contrary to the ruling establishment.

The delegation said the attack on the press appears to be designed to intimidate and threaten the fourth pillar of democracy, to prevent them from doing their job without fear or favour. "This does not bode well for our democracy. It is unacceptable".

The delegation told the President that the party and its leadership condemn any expression of anti-nationalism outright. Those resorting to such behaviour must be identified and dealt with strictly.

(Published 18 February 2016, 04:53 IST)

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