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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during an election campaign ahead of the fifth phase of Jharkhand Assembly election at Santhal Pragana in Dumka. (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during an election campaign ahead of the fifth phase of Jharkhand Assembly election at Santhal Pragana in Dumka. (ANI)

Modi says debate part of democracy but protests against Citizenship Act 'unfortunate'

  • The statements of Modi came on a day when allegations of police brutality were made by students of Jamia Milia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)
  • Modi also said that damage to public property and disturbance of normal life were never part of the ethos of people

NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday described the ongoing nationwide protests against Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) as “unfortunate and deeply distressing". Modi said debate and discussion are important in democracy but pointed out that damage to public property and disturbance of normal life were never part of the ethos of people.

Modi’s statements, posted on Twitter, came on a day when allegations of police brutality were made by students of Jamia Milia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) with growing protests across educational institutions in the country.

“Violent protests on the Citizenship Amendment Act are unfortunate and deeply distressing. Debate, discussion and dissent are essential parts of democracy but, never has damage to public property and disturbance of normal life been a part of our ethos. The need of the hour is for all of us to work together for the development of India and the empowerment of every Indian, especially the poor, downtrodden and marginalised. We cannot allow vested interest groups to divide us and create disturbance," Modi tweeted.

Modi also said that CAA was passed by both Houses of Parliament with overwhelming support and the Act talks about the culture of acceptance, harmony, compassion and brotherhood. PM also said that CAA does not affect any citizen of India of any religion and no Indian has anything to worry about the Act.

However, the political clash between the Union government and Opposition continued for the third consecutive day as the latter came to speak on the issue. Opposition leaders have alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was trying to give the protests a communal turn by making it an issue of Hindu versus Muslims and people should be wary about such attempts.

“As far as Left parties are concerned, we have given a call for countrywide protest on December 19. We hope that the protest will be a massive one. We appeal to all secular, democratic forces to join in the protest," said D Raja of Communist Party of India (CPI).

Talking to media, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded a judicial inquiry into the alleged violence on students of Jamia Milia Islamia. “Police cannot enter into university premises without permission of the Vice Chancellor. If they were not permitted, how did Police, which comes under Central government, enter into the campus? We condemn it. There should be a judicial inquiry," said Azad.

He further said that the allegations made by the PM that the Congress party was responsible for the violence in the country are baseless. “PM says Congress is behind protests. It's a baseless allegation. I condemn it. Only the ruling party, PM, home minister and their cabinet are responsible for it," Azad added.

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