Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today called the government "coward" after clashes between the police and students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi over the amended citizenship law escalated into student protests at many universities across the country.
"The police is entering universities and thrashing students. At a time when this government should come forth and listen to the people, the BJP government is oppressing students and journalists in the northeast, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. This is a coward government," she tweeted in Hindi.
In a warning to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said the voice of the youth cannot be suppressed. "This government is scared of the voice of the public. It wants to stifle the youth of this country with its dictatorship," she added.
On Sunday evening, a protest march by students of the Jamia University turned into a pitched battle with the police, with vehicles being torched and stones being thrown at the cops. The police, which used batons and teargas to contain the violence, later barged into the university and detained around 100 students. Many policemen too received injuries in the violence. A Jamia students' body claimed they had nothing to do with the arson and "certain elements" had joined during the protest and "disrupted" it.
The protests soon spread to the Aligarh Muslim University, where students who wanted to hold a solidarity march, clashed with the police. Internet has been blocked in the city and the university closed till January 5.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor blamed the "government's unseemly haste" for the crisis. "If only the President has withheld assent to this Bill until seeing its impact. The government's unseemly haste has led to this awful crisis. But does the BJP ever admit when they're wrong?" he tweeted.
"From the North East to Assam, West Bengal and now in Delhi. The BJP government has failed in its duty to maintain peace in the nation. They must take responsibility and restore peace in our country," the Congress said on its official Twitter handle.
However, BJP's national vice-president Baijayant Jay Panda said the protests in Delhi showed why the Citizenship Amendment Law was required. "The vandalism & arson by "protestors" shd make it clear to any who still have doubts why #CitizenshipAmendmentAct & #NRC are needed. These people are far from being the concerned citizens they claim to be. They are anarchists to whom neither constitution nor citizenship is sacrosanct," he tweeted.
In a tweet, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the violence. "Spoke to Hon'ble LG and urged him to take all steps to restore normalcy and peace. We are also doing everything possible at our end. Real miscreants who caused violence shud be identified and punished," a second tweet read.
With inputs from PTI