Gulam Nabi Azad calls for a debate on nationalism

NEW DELHI: The police action against JNU students and the conditions leading to Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide are not isolated incidents, but part of a larger project to change India into a “Hindu Rashtra”, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Thursday.

He was initiating a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the situation arising in the central institutions of higher learning, including the JNU and the Hyderabad University.

Live updates:

6.00 pm: Anand Sharma and his leaders have right to go to JNU, but that he condemns slogans that were raised: Jaitley

5.50 pm: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah intervenes, says to Congress: “We have tolerated you for so many decades, you also tolerate us for atleast 10 years first”.

5.40 pm: JNU is not a sovereign territory that police cannot enter. If Indian penal code is being violated,police is in its right to enter, says Jaitley.

5.30 pm: On PDP,it is a compromise in national interest. Your party has done it on an earlier occasion. We have done it now: Arun Jaitley to Congress

5.10 pm: Can hate speech be free speech?, asks the Finance Minister.

5.00 pm: Vandalism is condemnable, but sedition is free speech?, asks Arun Jaitley

4.27 pm: Arun Jaitley responds to Congress criticism against Smriti Irani. He says there can never be a single ideology and the government is open to criticism.

4.25 pm: People who have not committed any crime should not be punished: Azad.

4.20 pm: There should be a debate on “nationalism” here, let it go on for a week, so that the issue is dealt with once & for all, says Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad.

4.15 pm: The MLA was arrested in assault case (in PHC) and FIR was lodged against him: Rajnath Singh

4.10 pm: ‘I had a word with Delhi police commissioner as soon as I got information of Patiala court incident and said strict action must be taken’

4.07 pm: Delhi Police makes all possible efforts to maintain law & order of the capital: Rajnath.

4.00 pm: There has not been a single incident of communal violence or communal tension in Delhi in past 1 year, says Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

3.55 pm: On 15th February, a legislator belonging to ruling party attacked people outside court, took days for Delhi police to make a cosmetic arrest: Sharma

3.50 pm: This Govt allowed rule of law&order in national capital to collapse by encouraging&supporting violence&unlawful activities, says Congress MP Anand Sharma.

3.44 pm: Delhi Police handled the “anti-national and anti-constitutional” event at Jawaharlal Nehru University professionally, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told the Rajya Sabha. The Minister, reading out a statement on a calling attention motion on the law and order situation in Delhi, backed the police on the Patiala House Courts incident, and said they could not have used force as the space was limited. Read more

“The Delhi police was exercising restraint in the Patiala House court complex it did not use force because there was a full possibility of stampede due to limited space in the court premise and use of tear gas would have interfered with the working of the court,” Mr. Rijiju said.

3.30 pm: “But if a cultural event aimed at dividing the nation is organised in JNU, the administration has every right to interfere,” Mr. Yadave said and added slogans were raised in favour of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat talking of judicial killing.

3.21 pm: Reacting to this, Mr. Yechury says it was BJP which joined hands with PDP.

3.20 pm: Mr. Yadav attacks the Left parties saying they were instrumental in Mahishasur worship in JNU and sought votes in West Bengal’s Durga Puja pandals.

3.15 pm: Mr. Yadav also hit out at the CPI(M) asking why its Polit Bueau had no representation from ST or OBCs and how many faculty members of JNU were Dalits/OBCs or STs. He also said the government did not want to close down JNU but wanted to protect its dignity. The discussion will continue.

3.12 pm: Mr. Yadav continues his speech saying Indian culture showed respect and was tolerant towards all “whether it was ’Rishi Charvak’ or ‘Jainism’“.

3.10 pm: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley intervenes and accuses the Opposition of being “intolerant” for not allowing Yadav to put forth the “alternative point of view”, saying “why should this level of intolerance be allowed on alternate view point

  1. 05 pm: Amid protests by Congress leader Anand Sharma who asked Mr. Yadav to authenticate the pamphlets and posters he was displaying in the House as per rules, Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said his party colleague (Yadav) will do so.

3.00 pm: Participating in the debate Bhupender Yadav (BJP) questioned whether the JNU incident reflected “freedom of speech” or “speech for freedom” and sought to know how students distributed pamphlets on Kashmir.

12.30 pm: Aan effort was on to metamorphosise India, a secular democratic republic, into a “theocratic, fascistic Hindu rashtra, says Yechury.