The Congress party is resolved to protecting the Constitution in the name of all those who have been martyred during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said on Monday (December 23).
Priyanka Gandhi made the remark during the Congress party’s ‘Satyagraha for Unity’ at the Raj Ghat in New Delhi. Top Congress leaders, including those from the Gandhi family and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, were present at the ‘Satyagraha’ event.
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“In the name of Bijnor’s 22-year-old Anas, who used to earn money for his family through a coffee vending machine and had just recently gotten married. In the name of 21-year-old Suleiman who was studying for the UPSC and used to take tuition. In the name of all the children who have been martyred in this movement.
“In the name of Bijnor’s Omraj Saini, whose five children are waiting for him and he is in the hospital injured. In their name, we resolve today that we will protect the Constitution and will not allow the Constitution to be destroyed,” Priyanka Gandhi said.
She said Suleiman’s mother had told her “with tear-filled eyes” that her son has been “martyred” for his country. The Congress general secretary, party president Sonia Gandhi, leader Rahul Gandhi and Singh also recited the Preamble of the Constitution.
The event was also meant to express solidarity with the youth and students protesting against the amended Citizenship Act and the proposed countrywide NRC as well as against the police “atrocities” on them.
Congress general secretary KC Venugopal who was present at the programme, said it was organised to remind the government about the strength of India’s Constitution. “This is to show solidarity with all the students of the country who are agitating for the cause of freedom of speech and expression. The country is going through a very difficult period because of bad policies of this government,” he said.
“Our workers are here to express solidarity with our students, youth and those suffering due to the bad policies of the government, especially those protesting against the amended Citizenship Act,” he said.
Congress chief ministers Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath, senior party leaders AK Antony, Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma, Digvijaya Singh, Mukul Wasnik, Meira Kumar, besides Congress Working Committee (CWC) members, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretaries and the party’s state in-charges took part in the ‘Satyagraha’. Some religious leaders were also present at the spot.
The leaders and workers of the party, who sat under the shadow of a huge national flag, joined the top leaders in reading out the Preamble to the Constitution.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath asserted their governments will not implement the amended Citizenship Act in the Congress-ruled states as it was against the basic principles of the Constitution. Chhattisgarh minister T S Singh Deo, on behalf of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, said the CAA and NRC will not be implemented in his state either.
The Congress had on Friday said the “unconstitutional” legislation will not be implemented in the party-ruled states.
“The identity of India is through its Constitution. We reject this law, and while respecting the Constitution, our government will not implement it,” Nath said amid loud cheers from the crowd.
Gehlot alleged that an atmosphere of fear was created by the BJP-led government and that democracy was in danger. “The prime minister is misleading people over the NRC, saying it was not discussed, while the home minister is saying that the NRC will be implemented. The country understands that they want to divide it on religious lines,” he said.
“This is an RSS agenda that they want to implement, but the country will not accept it. They should be ready to face that the country will rebel. In Rajasthan, the CAA and the NRC will not be implemented as they are against the basic principles of the Constitution,” Gehlot said, alleging that the ruling BJP used the “mask of democracy” to win elections.
The party held that in line with the path of non-violence shown by Mahatma Gandhi, it would fight against the “dictatorial” government and to protect the “sacred” Constitution.
The Congress said there was widespread resentment against the recent actions of the government and people across the country, especially youngsters, were demanding restoration and maintaining the sanctity of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
It also stood in support of the students protesting against the government and the use of “indiscriminate police force” against ordinary citizens in the name of maintaining law and order, the party said, adding that this had led to further worsening of the situation.
The party was up against the government for using “brute” force against “silent and peaceful” protesters across the country and for “stopping” people from holding demonstrations against the new citizenship law and the NRC, proposed to be implemented across the country, it added.
(With inputs from agencies)