New Delhi: Thousands of students from various universities across the country today hit the streets of the capital demanding justice for Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and protesting the JNU row with Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal joining them in slamming the Modi government against "crushing" voices of dissent.
In the second such protest in less than a week, the students marched from central Delhi's Jhandewalan to Jantar Mantar where they held a rally, which was addressed by Rahul, Kejriwal, CPI's D Raja, CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri, social activist Medha Patkar and mother of Rohith Vemula and all of them warned the NDA government against "messing" with young minds.
Mounting a fresh attack, Rahul accused the Modi dispensation and RSS of stifling voices of dissent of college and university students across the country while Kejriwal accused those in power of "distributing certificates of patriotism", alleging that "goondaism" has been unleashed to crush dissent.
Rahul said his party will fight for enactment of a law to protect them from "discrimination" and "suppression".
"We need a law to ensure that students in colleges and universities do not face discrimination and their voice is not stifled," Rahul said, lending support to the students.
The Congress Vice President also slammed the government for not including issues like Rohith's death and difficulties being faced by students of universities in the President's address to Parliament today.
Kejriwal, who came to rally an hour after Rahul left, said the Centre was at "war" with the students of the country and asked the Prime minister to "mend his ways". Otherwise, he said, students will "teach him a lesson".
"What happened that youth who had supported Modi have risen against him today? This government seems to be at war with students of the country.
"Now they have started distributing certificates of patriotism. They are distributing certificates as to who is a patriot and who is a traitor. They will beat anyone up, or rape anyone and justify it by saying that they were raising slogans against India.
"This goondaism won't be tolerated. For them the biggest patriot is Nathuram Godse and the biggest traitor is Kanhaiya. The biggest patriot is Adityanath and traitor Mahatma Gandhi. Biggest patriot Sadhvi Ritambhara and biggest traitor Aamir Khan. For them all these hoodlums are patriots," he said.
Kejriwal said youth of the country will come down hard on Modi if he does not mend his ways. "If Modiji does not mend his ways then very soon the youth and students will come together to teach him a lesson," Kejriwal said, adding "I had said earlier, 'Modiji students se pange mat lena' (don't mess with students). Otherwise they will rock your government and you won't have a clue."
Slamming the Centre for taking action against students for expressing dissent, he said everybody has the right to raise voice against anything, which is wrong.