Congress’s Rahul Gandhi today accused the BJP of not listening to the “voice of the people” as protests against the new citizenship law continued across the country. The protests against the new law have entered its third week, with protesters demanding a repeal of the law. But the government has indicated that the law stands.
While the police have used force to counter the protesters in most states, Assam is one that witnessed massive violence. Five persons died in the state, where violence broke out soon after the law was signed off by President Ram Nath Kovind on December 11.
“Wherever the BJP goes, it spreads hate. In Assam, the youth is protesting, in other states protests happening as well. Why do you have to shoot and kill them? BJP doesn’t want to listen to voice of people,” said Mr Gandhi, who was in Assam to lead the party’s “Save Constitution-Save India” protest march.
“They think they can supress the culture and history of the northeast , they did not understand your pulse,” he said. “We will not allow the BJP and RSS to attack the history, culture and tradition of Assam. Assam cannot be ruled from Nagpur. Assam will only be run by its people,” he added.
Harish Rawat, the Congress in-charge of Assam, told news agency Press Trust of India yesterday that Rahul Gandhi’s father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, had signed the Assam Accord in 1985 “sacrificing” the Congress government in the state.
“Rahul Gandhi understands the sentiments of the people of Assam as the state is close to him,” Mr Rawat said. After the Accord was signed, the Hiteswar Saikia-led Congress government in Assam had stepped down.
The Congress leader is expected to visit the families of the people killed during the protests. He has already met the family of 16-year-old Sams Steford, who was killed during the stir at Chaygaon near Guwahati, reported news agency Press Trust of India.
The teen was returning from playground, where singer Zubeen Garg had performed in solidarity with those agitating against the amended Citizenship Act, when he was hit.
His uncle Bishu Stafford said Rahul Gandhi has promised to fight for justice. He said they were happy that though no one from the government or the BJP came to meet them, but “Rahul Gandhi came all the way from Delhi”.