Hindu-Muslim, India-Pak no answer to students' concerns

Hindu-Muslim, India-Pak no answer to students' concerns

Taunting the prime minister, Surjewala said such police crackdown was unprecedented in the last 72 years, because "Modi hai toh mumkin hai". Photo/PTI

Amid raging protests against the new citizenship law, the Congress on Wednesday warned the Narendra Modi government against attempting a "Hindu-Muslim" (divide) or raising India-Pakistan rhetoric, which it said cannot be the solution to the concerns of jobless youth and to other issues.

Speaking to reporters, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also said that the ongoing protests by the student community will "grow stronger" if the government at the Centre fails to hold talks with them.

Surjewala was in Ahmedabad to attend a court hearing in connection with a criminal defamation case. He was granted bail after he pleaded not guilty.

"While students and youth of the country are holding demonstrations, the Modi government is responding with batons, tear gas and bullets, instead of talking to them. Hindu-Muslim or India-Pakistan is no reply to the youth's questions on unemployment, rising cost of education, and trampling of Constitution," Surjewala said.

He was referring to the violent protests against the new citizenship law in Delhi and the resultant police action on students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) and the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

Taunting the prime minister, Surjewala said such police crackdown was unprecedented in the last 72 years, because "Modi hai toh mumkin hai" (anything is possible under PM Narendra Modi)".

"I would like to ask PM Modi, what his government is trying to prove by baton-charging, firing bullets and teargas shells on youth and students inside a girls' hostel and libraries (of JMI varsity)," he said.

Surjewala said the student community and youth are agitated over the lack of employment and the rising cost of education.

"Parents do not have money for the education of their wards. They have no opportunity. They are agitated that the Constitution is being trampled upon...You (Modi) must understand, and also consider it as a warning, that if they stand against you, they can even change the government," he said.

Surjewala further said that if the Centre doesn't hold talks with the agitated students "the protests will only grow stronger, and you cannot suppress them". 

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