- Uddhav Thackeray compared Jamia crackdown to Jallianwala Bagh massacre
- He made the comments at the Maharashtra assembly
- Devendra Fadnavis said it is a "big, big insult" to martyrs
Uddhav Thackeray, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, today likened the police crackdown on students at the Jamia Millia University on Sunday during protests against the citizenship law to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
"The manner in which the police entered the campus in Delhi and students were fired on, I was reminded of the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy. Are we creating a Jallianwala Bagh-like situation in this country by trying to scare students," Uddhav Thackeray questioned at the Maharashtra assembly, criticizing the central government led by former ally BJP over the citizenship protests and the campus violence on Sunday night.
"In a country or a state where the youth are angry, there cannot be peace. The youth are our strength. We will soon be the country with the highest number of youth. Youth power is a bomb and I request the government not to ignite it," the Chief Minister added amid protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which makes it easier for non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh to become Indian citizens.
His predecessor and former ally Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP seized the comments to allege a "big, big insult" to those who sacrificed their lives for the nation. "Equating Jamia University incident with Jallianwala bagh massacre by CM Uddhav ji Thackeray is big big insult to all the martyrs who have sacrificed their life for our Nation. Entire Nation and Maharashtra wants to know if Uddhav ji agrees with these slogans," tweeted Mr Fadnavis along with a video apparently from Jamia of slogans shouted against the citizenship law.
The members of the two parties had a scuffle inside the Maharashtra assembly earlier on Tuesday. Shiv Sena and BJP members even charged at each other, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House.
On Sunday evening, a protest march by students at the Jamia university descended into violence and chaos after a mob clashed with the police. The police later barged into the Jamia campus and rounded up students. The police are accused of assaulting students with sticks and using tear gas shells, leaving many injured. Students were also arrested and released hours later. Students have disassociated themselves from the mobs that burnt buses and clashed with the police.
The Jallianwala Bagh incident in 1919 has horrified generations of Indians. Hundreds of unarmed people gathered for a discourse at the Bagh in Punjab's Amritsar were killed when troops led by British officer General Reginald Dyer shut all exits and opened fire at men, women and children.