New Delhi: Linking the Rohith Vemula and Kanhaiya Kumar issues with rights of the marginalised, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused the Narendra Modi government of "crushing" the weak and the poor who demand their rights.
He also said Union ministers and BJP leaders were free to carry out personalised attacks against him but they should not "crush the poor and the weak for whom I speak."
"Tribals from Bastar met me today. They said they are facing atrocities in Chhattisgarh's Bastar and that they are being threatened and crushed.
"Country will not benefit by beating and threatening people. You pressurised Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad, here you are pressurising Kanhaiya and our students," the Congress Vice President told reporters here.
He alleged that wherever the poor is seeking rights, "be it farmer, dalit, tribal or small trader --small traders came to me -- wherever a weak person is raising voice, NDA government, Modi government is trying to crush it."
These people are the strength of India and no one will benefit by crushing them, he said.
"If you have to take action, do it. Those who break law, take action. But by crushing, threatening and beating the poor won't help the country," Rahul said.
In an apparent reference to Modi's remarks in the Lok Sabha that "some people age but do not mature", Rahul said the PM and his Cabinet colleagues are free to attack him. "Modi attacked me personally. His party colleagues are attacking me personally on a daily basis," he said.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently took a dig at the Congress Vice-President over his Lok Sabha speech and said "the more I hear Rahul Gandhi, the more I start wondering how much does he know? when will he know".
"As one evolves from a young to a middle-aged one, we certainly expect a certain level of maturity," Jaitley had said in a Facebook post reacting to Gandhi's remarks that Prime Minister Modi does not consult his senior ministers on policy issues.
"Do as much personal attacks as you want. But don't crush the poor, the weak for whom I speak. Hit me as much you want. Attack me as much you want. Speak for as long as you want to, but don't hit the poor people of the country," Rahul stressed....