Govt insulting India, suppressing its voice: Rahul

PTI file photo

The Congress on Thursday accused the government of muzzling the voice of people through "draconian measures" like shutting of internet and misusing prohibitory orders, and said "undeclared emergency" has been imposed in the country.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra warned that "the more the government tries to suppress the voice of people, the louder it will become".

Senior opposition leaders, including Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja and Congress leaders Ajay Maken and Sandeep Dikshit, students and activists were detained on Thursday by police on their way to demonstrations against the new citizenship law as prohibitory orders and restrictions on internet and mobile phone services in parts of Delhi-NCR region inconvenienced thousands of people.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, "This government has no right to shut down colleges, telephones and the Internet, to halt metro trains and to impose Section144 to suppress India's voice and prevent peaceful protests. To do so is an insult to India's soul."

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said undeclared emergency has been imposed in the country and the BJP government has become "adamkhor (man-eater)".

"This is not BJP rule, it is undeclared emergency imposed in the country, which is being run in the name of normalcy. It is the same definition of normalcy that is being adopted in Kashmir and the same is being adopted in all over the country.

"There is an atmosphere of violence across the country. This BJP rule looks like "Adamkhor" (man-eater). Normalcy will return to the country only when this government is told that the time has come for it to go," he told reporters.

Congress said 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 Congress party tweeted.

Priyanka Gandhi said "those who paid crores of taxpayers money in advertisement to make people understand, the same people are today shocked at the voice of the people and are bent upon shutting everyone's voice".

The voice of people cannot be silenced by force, she said.

"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," she 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.

As she paid homage to freedom fighters Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan and Roshan Singh on their martyrdom day, she took a swipe at the BJP, saying importance of their joint martyrdom attains greater relevance as those sitting in government are wearing glasses of religion politics.

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram questioned why internet had been shut and asked whether all Delhi residents have become "urban naxals", a term often used by the prime minister to attack intellectuals in the national capital.

"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," he said.

"Why has the internet been shut down? Have all residents of Delhi become urban naxals," he asked.

"I am proud that young people and students have upheld the liberalism, pluralism and secularism of India and have poured into the streets to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act, irrespective of their religion or caste," Chidambaram said on Twitter.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "Modi government has attacked the Constitution, the youth and the students. Metro is closed, internet is shut, college-university is closed, the freedom to speak is closed, employment is closed, business is shut. Because, it is possible when Modi is there."

Singhvi said it is a very sad day for the country as "we now have dissatisfaction, anger, reaction, strong statements, demonstrations, campaigns, speeches across the country in every nook and cranny."

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said "Gandhiji taught us that when you do 'agrah' for 'Satya', it is Satyagrah. If people want to do Satyagrah, how can you stop them in this manner. Because you want to brush under the carpet, you want to suppress dissent and let the country know that everything is hunky dory..."

He said the BJP government has redefined the definition of normalcy and its J&K definition of normalcy now prevails in the rest of the country.

"This is an uncaring, unthinking, unseeing, unhearing government and ruling party. It has become a 'Bharatiya Zidd (stubbornness) Party'. This is not an ego issue...," Singhvi noted.

He said if there is so much feeling about this "black law", it is within BJP's power to rethink and withdraw, but it is "too egotistical, too arrogant" to even contemplate hearing or listening, leave aside recalibrating.

He cited Internet shutdown tracker figures saying from 2015 onwards the number has gone from single digit to double digit figures. "That tells you that this government wants to crush dissent....You cannot stop our voice by misusing this artificial Section 144."

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