Clampdown worse than Emergency, says Sitaram Yechury

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 19, 2019 Published on December 19, 2019

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury detained by police for defying prohibitory orders imposed in the area during an anti-CAA protest, at Mandi House, in New Delhi, on Thursday   -  PTI

Addressing reporters after he was released by the Delhi Police following a brief detention, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the Left parties were protesting to uphold the values of Constitution. He said they were overwhelmed by the response the protest call against Citizenship (Amendment) Act generated.

Yechury said the success of the nationwide protests made it clear that the younger generation in India do not want the Constitution to be violated “like it is being done now”.

“The Constitution very clearly does not link the issues of citizenship of India with any religion. By doing so, they are dividing the Indian people on the basis of religion. This will threaten the unity and diversity of India and that is the reason for our protests demanding withdrawal of the Act,” he said.

He said the judiciary is considering the cases filed against the Act and said the Left parties hope that apex court will uphold the fundamentals of Indian Constitution. He criticised the blockade on use of internet.

“Internet was shut down in Delhi. The private telecom operators were instructed by the Government to do so. India has the ignominy of being the country with largest number of internet shutdowns in the world. Not just Kashmir and the North-East, even the Capital city was subjected to this. This is not acceptable. 20 metro stations were closed down. This sort of a clampdown is worse than the Emergency,” Yechury said.

CPI general secretary D Raja said the day December 19 is a symbol of communal harmony as as it was on this day in 1927 that freedom fighters Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan and Roshan Singh — a Hindu, a Muslim and a Sikh — were hanged to death by the British. He said the Left will continue to hold protests against the policies of the present government.

Later, talking to reporters, Congress spokesperson and MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi said no one can be prevented from expressing views in the name of Section 144 of the IPC.

“How else should a person or citizen of this country demonstrate? We know that you will not hear us. We know that you are bent upon passing black laws. At least allow our voice to be heard and the Supreme Court has said that unless there is a very palpable, clear and recordable threat to public tranquillity, 144 ought not to be used. 144 is now used in a routine manner. Large sections of old Delhi, parts of Bengaluru, Assam and Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, Allahabad, the whole cities are put under 144. That is not the object of 144,” he said.

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Published on December 19, 2019
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