Opposition leaders on Monday said that whoever had ordered the police to enter the Jamia Millia Islamia campus on Sunday should be identified and punished, called for a judicial probe and announced a countrywide agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
“The vice-chancellor and the proctor of the university have said they didn’t give permission to the police to enter. On whose orders did the police enter the campus then?” the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, told a news conference.
“Delhi police are directly controlled by the Narendra Modi government. There should be a judicial probe to find out on whose orders they went inside.”
Azad, flanked by politicians from the Left, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party, alleged that the “unconstitutional” amendment to the citizenship law had spawned a civil-war-like situation across the country.
The Opposition leaders condemned the police crackdown on students inside the Jamia “library” and “toilets”, and questioned the silence of home minister Amit Shah to whom the Delhi police report.
“Whoever gave the orders to the police should be brought to book. Where is the home minister? The police come directly under him; why is he silent?” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury asked. “Democratic rights can’t be crushed under jackboots.”
CPI general secretary D. Raja said he had been with the students protesting outside the Delhi police headquarters and had interacted with police officers as well.
“I asked the police on whose orders they had gone inside. The police said the matter needed to be investigated,” Raja said.
He said Modi and Shah should own responsibility for the police brutality.
Javed Ahmed Khan, Samajwadi Rajya Sabha member, said he was a former Jamia Millia student and lived near the university.
“The arson took place 3km from the university. The police retaliation, however, came against innocent students inside the university,” Khan said. He demanded a probe by a retired Supreme Court judge.
Responding to Modi’s tweet that there should be no violence and that the act had been passed by a majority in Parliament, Azad accused the BJP of “arm-twisting” regional parties to secure their support.
His Congress colleague Kapil Sibal said the amended citizenship law was an example of “tyranny by the majority”.
The Opposition leaders condemned the torching of buses during the protests, saying there was no place for violence in Gandhi’s land.
“We condemn the violence but the Prime Minister should allow a judicial probe to find out who resorted to the violence,” RJD Rajya Sabha member Manoj Jha said.
On the BJP leadership’s allegation that the Congress was behind the countrywide violence, Azad said that had his party been that powerful the BJP would not have been in power.
The politicians addressing the news conference said they had the support of all the Opposition parties in the country although many of them couldn’t participate in the media interaction because it had been called at a very short notice.
Opposition leaders are scheduled to meet President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday to lodge their protest against the act.
Asked what purpose the meeting would serve since the President had already approved the law, Azad said they would demand a judicial probe into the Jamia crackdown since the President happens to be the Visitor of all the central universities.