New Delhi: Leaders of opposition parties on Tuesday knocked on the doors of President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to intervene on the issue of violence in central universities and advise the Modi government to withdraw the "unconstitutional and divisive" citizenship amendment law.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who led the opposition delegation, alleged the Modi government was "shutting down" people's voices and bringing legislations which are not acceptable to them.
"All of us, representatives of 12 different political parties have met the President to plead with him to intervene in the situation in the Northeast, which is now spreading throughout the country including the capital in the Jamia University, because of the Act. It is a very serious situation. We fear that it may spread even further. We are anguished at the manner in which the police have dealt with peaceful demonstrations across India," she told reporters after the meeting.
She said police personnel entered women's hostels in Jamia Millia Islamia and "mercilessly" beat up students. "They mercilessly beat the students not only here in Delhi, who were demonstrating, which is their democratic right, as is ours, to demonstrate. I think you all have seen that the BJP Government i.e. the Modi Government seems to have no compulsion when it comes to shutting down people's voices and implement a legislation, which do not seem to be acceptable to the people and to us in a democracy," she said.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said the President was the custodian of the Constitution. "We have said that he cannot allow his government to violate the Constitution in this brazen manner. We urged him to give his advice to the government to withdraw this law," he told reporters.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien said, "We have asked the President to please advise the government to withdraw this diabolical, divisive act. This act will affect the poorest of the poor."
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said, "We have urged the President that the fears expressed by us in Parliament during the passage of the bill are proving right. This is a law that is taking the country towards its division. The CAA has put fear in the minds of the people and it will have bad results. Our government is giving an opportunity to break the country."
"We urged the president to keep the country united and not allow it to divide the country," he said.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that certain groups with vested interests are trying to create disturbance and helping Pakistan, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "We challenge the prime minister to have a debate with us. I challenge him for a one-on-one debate where we will highlight who embraced Nawaz Sharif and who released the terrorists and who wanted to be more friendly to Pakistan. It is they who have sympathies with Pakistan and accuse the opposition (of it). We challenge him for a debate."
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said there were around 14 to 15 political parties which were to come, but leaders of some of the parties could not come. "They are with us," he added. He said a memorandum has been given to the President that points out how the government was in a hurry to bring this law.
"This law is not in the interest of the country as it divides people. They do not bother about the country," he alleged.
Leaders of at least 12 parties, including the Congress, CPI-M, CPI, DMK, SP, TMC, RJD, National Conference, IUML and AIUDF, were part of the delegation.
The Bahujan Samaj Party MPs from both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha would be meeting the President separately on Wednesday, party leader Danish Ali said.