Opposition leaders visit DU, support protesting students; slam Centre

New Delhi, (IANS): Several opposition leaders on Tuesday joined a protest on the Delhi University campus against the violence on the Ramjas College on February 22 and accused the government of politicising the issue and censoring students.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India leader D. Raja, Janata Dal-United leader K.C. Tyagi and Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav were among those who visited the protesting students.

Adressing the protestors, Yechury said different politicians present at the protest venue were not to be blamed for politicising the students’ protest since the central government had already politicised the issue.

“The government has made the issue political by censoring students into submission and using police for its benefit. It is the government that politicised the issue,” Yechury said.

“Students should be allowed to express themselves. Politics is deciding everything for students today. Why should I not decide on my politics? You have to make your own choice,” the CPI-M leader said.

He said there should be debate and not violence.

“The atmosphere at different university campuses has been ruined. If you wish to fight us, come ahead with your views… if all is well with universities, all is well with my country. We will argue. We shall fight at an intellectual level, no physically,” Yechury said.

Raja called for a fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre just as “Indians once fought the British rule”.

“I am a communist, I don’t need any certificate of nationalism. We fought for the country’s independence. We fought against the British Raj and won independence. Now, we have to fight against the BJP ‘raj’ to defend our democracy,” Raja said.

“What is BJP and ABVP? Ever since the BJP came to power (at the Centre), the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has become the extra-constitutional ruler,” he said.

Swaraj India leader Yogendra Yadav, meanwhile, compared the handling of the DU situation with the style of functioning of late Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi.

“For the last 10 days, there has been an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in the university, which is reminiscent of Sanjay Gandhi’s style of functioning. There is only one answer to this — the students should come forward and say they are not scared,” Yadav said.

Hundreds of students from Delhi University and other institutions of higher learning in the national capital, along with a large number of teachers, staged a protest march on the varsity’s North Campus on Tuesday, which culminated at the Arts Faculty.

The march was against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Delhi Police over the February 21-22 disturbances on the campus.

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