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Panelists suggest that modifications are needed at every sector to stall explosive situations

STUDENTS are on the streets against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). As protests over the Act continued for the third day, West Bengal government announced a temporary suspension of Internet services in affected districts. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath held a late-night meeting through video conferencing with district civil and police chiefs. Stone pelting and violent incidents were reported in many parts of the country. In Assam, however, the situation had reportedly improved. Home Minister Amit Shah has asked people to maintain peace and to not get swayed by rumours. APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the issue. Anchorperson Parivesh Vatsayan posed the questions to the panellists, including the BJP’s Dr Vikram Singh, Congress’s Ajay Arora, ABVP’s Ishdeep Kaur, NSUI’s Hammed Vaheed, noted academician Dr DK Sharma.

Vaheed said: “There have been protests in 22 universities, and the government has to provide the answers. Cops have been irresponsible. They are trying to frustrate the students.”

Kaur said: “The issue is of minorities who have been infiltrating. It is not meant to take away minority rights.”

Arora said: “I appeal to the government not to divide the country. Campuses are on fire, and students, including young women, have been beaten. Why have the protesting youth been beaten so mercilessly?”

Singh said: “When police gets attacked, is no one looking at that? Who is defending such acts? Students at AMU have been raising slogans like ‘Hindutva will come to an end’. Is this what they have come to study? Some universities have been taken over by lumpen elements. It is the internal campus administration that is authorised to maintain peace. No cops from outside can enter unless told to do so.”

This led to a slanging match between Arora and Singh.

Sharma said: “The way to protest has to be democratic, it should be peaceful. Students are welcome to express their views, but it should not disrupt the peace.”

Arora said: “I would like to reiterate that this kind of fire will not be tolerated.”

Singh said: “It was the Congress that had divided the nation along religious lines in ’47, and it is the Congress that is bent on dividing the nation again.”

Vaheed said: “It is not that the protests are not peaceful. Priyanka Gandhi has also been saying it is our right to express our dissent. This is everybody’s country, and it will be run along democratic lines only.”

Kaur said: “This Act is to clamp down on infiltrators.”

Sharma said: “The penetration of smartphones and whatsapp is instantly making things viral. Earlier student bodies were meant to help the students, now rumours get around faster. Outside elements enter in to twist the facts, and disturb the peace in the varsities. Earlier students were scared of Professors, now it is difficult to discipline them. The situation is looking explosive right now, and modifications are needed at every sector.”

Singh said: “Those who are protesting were not to be driven out of the country. If BJP is getting an Act to authorise citizenship for those who have got in, what’s wrong with that? This Act has been passed, and those who want to protest should go to the courts.”


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