'Sedition charges being distributed freely like prasad'

Sedition charges being distributed freely like 'prasad', says Kanhaiya Kumar

CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar addresses a protest demonstration against the new Citizenship Act, in Mumbai. (PTI Photo)

CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Friday rued that sedition charges were being "distributed freely like prasad" though a police officer arrested along with terrorists was not deemed fit to be booked for treason.

The former JNU student leader, who was booked for sedition four years ago, was referring to suspended Jammu and Kashmir DSP Devinder Singh.

"Sedition charges are being distributed freely like prasad. Social workers are being booked. In Karnataka, school children have been booked for merely staging a play. And this is when a police officer arrested along with terrorists is yet to be charged with the same," he said while addressing a rally here as part of his state-wide "Jan Gan Man Yatra" against the CAA-NPR-NRC issue.

Kumar, who made an unsuccessful electoral debut in the Lok Sabha polls last year against BJP's Giriraj Singh, termed the saffron party as 'Godsewadi', followers of Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse.

"These Godsewadis, these rioters have placed guns in the hands of youths while (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah has secured the plum post of BCCI secretary for his son.

"The people in power send their children to Oxford, Cambridge and other elite institutions abroad while the ordinary young men and women in the country have to contend with an educational system wherein a three-year degree course takes five years to get completed," he said.

A person who becomes a member of any legislative body for just one term is guaranteed a handsome pension for life, while government employees get post-retirement benefits irregularly after a lifetime of service, Kanhaiya said and termed this "unfair".

Charging the NDA government with adopting a "provoke and mislead" policy, he wondered why the need for a fresh amendment was felt by the Centre despite the citizenship law having been amended by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

Kanhaiya sought to defend the use of epithets like "takloo" (the bald one) and "tadipaar" for Shah (an allusion to the Supreme Court order whereby the BJP leader was asked to stay out of Gujarat a decade ago) by claiming "I do so to make things easier to understand. I do not wish to use foul language against anybody."

"I am often accused of claiming to be a student despite being in my 40s. Let me make it clear, I am no more with the JNU, having completed my PhD. And I am only 35. But the problem with my friends who are supporters of the BJP is, they have fallen in love with Modi. And love makes you blind, prevents you from seeing reason," he added.

"Shah says those opposed to the CAA are against grant of citizenship to refugees. This is false. People desirous of Indian citizenship were getting the same under the existing law. The current exercise is an attempt by them to undo the effects of the NRC that took place in Assam as per the Supreme Court order. But it backfired, politically, for the BJP," Kanhaiya said referring to reports that a majority of those excluded in the NRC in the north-eastern state were Hindus.

"News channels too have become a part of this Hindu versus Muslim game. I say it is fine that work has commenced for building a Ram temple at Ayodhya. But the day-to-day problems faced by people do not deserve any coverage!" he lamented.

The rally was also addressed by senior leaders like Tariq Anwar, a former Union minister from here and Congress MLA Shakil Ahmed Khan.

A slipper was thrown at the convoy while it was approaching the rally, by an unidentified person, though the situation was brought under control by police. 

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