Gandhi also condemned the "illegal" arrest of people, including students, intellectuals, social workers, lawyers and journalists in various parts of the country.
Accusing the BJP government of being “bent upon using repression and violence” “to suppress the voice of people” protesting against changes in the citizenship law, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday said it was a “black day for democracy”.
She also accused the government of seeking to harass the poor and deprived by replicating the situation of queuing them up in quest of identity proofs just as they had to line up before ATMs for their own money in the wake of demonetisation in November 2016.
The Congress general secretary, who has been personally participating in demonstration by students and people against the amended citizenship law and the proposed creation of a national register of citizens, alleged that police were inciting peaceful protestors all over the country and indulging in violence against them. She also condemned the rampant arrest of protesters in the country.
“The NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Act is against the fundamental spirit of the Constitution of India,” she said in a statement in Hindi, adding “at no cost will an attack on Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Constitution be allowed.”
“The public is fighting for the Constitution by taking to streets against this attack, but the government is bent on barbaric repression and violence,” she said.
Priyanka Gandhi also appealed to the protesters to follow the “non-violence and truth as propagated by Mahatma Gandhi” to protect the Constitution. Alleging that the NRC and Citizenship Amendment Act is against the poor of the country, she said, “As the BJP government had lined up the poor in (the wake of) demonetisation, it wants them now to stand in line in the name of NRC and citizenship amendment law.
“The law will fix a ‘cut off date’ and make every Indian prove their Indianness by presenting some valid document. Due to this, most of the poor and deprived people will be harassed,” she alleged. Gandhi also condemned the “illegal” arrest of people, including students, intellectuals, social workers, lawyers and journalists in various parts of the country.
She also accused police of arresting people and keeping them in illegal custody in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere in the country without apprising their family members of their whereabouts. “It is a dark day for democracy. The police have kept many people in illegal custody for days in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow. Their families have no information about their arrest. We are getting shocking news through the media that those arrested are being beaten up badly in police custody,” she said.
The Congress leader said in Uttar Pradesh, the government has stopped communication and internet.
In Firozabad, Amroha, Moradabad, Bareilly, Rampur, Kanpur and Gorakhpur, the police have lathi-charged even those protesting peacefully, she alleged.
“The police everywhere are inciting people undertaking protests and marches to indulge in violence. There have been reports of 15 people being killed in police violence in Uttar Pradesh,” she claimed.
“The Congress Party appeals for peace and harmony. The country got independence through truth and non-violence. Today it is necessary that the Constitution of Babasaheb Ambedkar should be protected through the path of truth and non-violence as shown by Mahatma Gandhi,” she said. Her statement comes in the wake of growing protest across the country against the new citizenship amendment law and the proposed NRC.