Kanhaiya Kumar addresses a meeting in Purnia on Monday. (Express Photo: Prince Kumar)
Announcing a Bihar bandh call issued by the Opposition for Thursday, CPI leader and former JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Monday issued a warning to the Union government on the new citizenship law and the NRC, stating, “If you do not consider us citizens, we do not consider you the government.”
Addressing a huge crowd in Purnia at an event to protest the new law and the NRC, Kanhaiya asked students to stay calm but protest “peacefully and firmly”
Kanhaiya said, “If you do not consider us citizens, we do not consider you the government. You may well have majority in Parliament; we have the majority on the street. This fight is not about Hindus or Muslims…we do not want a country of (V D) Savarkar but of Bhagat Singh and Babasaheb Ambedkar. They want Ashfaq and Bismil to fight, (but) we will not let that happen.”
Referring to the police action against protesters in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University on Friday, he said when the police use teargas on students, students from across the country need to stay united, but protest peacefully and tell the government that NRC is not needed.
देश के विद्यार्थियों पर पुलिस के दमन और संविधान एवं ग़रीब विरोधी CAB-NRC के खिलाफ आज पूर्णिया(बिहार) की जनता ने अपनी आवाज बुलन्द की। जनता समझ रही है कि उनके असल सवालों को दबाने के लिए यह सरकार उन्हें नागरिकता सिद्ध करने के लिए सरकारी दफ़्तरों के बाहर लाइनों में लगा देना चाहती है। pic.twitter.com/vFZULxKnhZ— Kanhaiya Kumar (@kanhaiyakumar) December 16, 2019
“This is a fight to save the Constitution…. We do not want an India of Pragya Thakur.”
Getting the crowd to react to his trademark “aazadi” slogan, Kanhaiya said the people now want azaadi, or freedom, from NRC – “We need freedom from the BJP, freedom from the Sangh (RSS).”
“The Prime Minister said he could understand protesters from their body language, but let me tell the PM that we read his mind very well. We are not going to show you any papers (on NRC) but will tell the people about rising prices of onions and other important public issues,” Kanhaiya said in what was his first major public appearance after losing the Lok Sabha polls from Begusarai constituency to BJP’s Giriraj Singh.
The gathering included students from Seemanchal districts of Purnia, Katihar, Araria and Kishanganj in Bihar.
The programme was organised by the Joint Forum Against NRC, which has among its active members Kanhaiya and Congress MLA from Katihar Shakeel Ahmed Khan.--IE