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Under Modi, India has become 'lab of communalism': Kanhaiya

Describing the RSS as force behind the Narendra Modi Government, JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar alleged the present dispensation had converted the country into a "laboratory of communalism and anti-Dalit" policies

Under Modi, India has become lab of communalism: Kanhaiya
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Kanhaiya Kumar

Pune

"Modi is the Prime Minister and the RSS is his strength. They have converted the country into a laboratory of communalism and anti-Dalit policies. Why do you fear when we talk about our ideology seeking social equality and fight to end casteism?" he asked, addressing a packed gathering of students assembled under the banner of Progressive Students' Association.

Kumar, who arrived here under heavy police security in the backdrop of the alleged physical assault on him aboard a Jet Airways flight to Pune, also asserted he was not going to be intimidated by such attacks.

"Police are telling lies saying that what happened in the morning was a quarrel over seats. Quarrel over seats take place in Mumbai local trains and not on planes.

"I do not want to press charges against the attackers because they also belong to us and have been incited. But I will not be intimidated," he said, referring to the incident that forced him to travel by road to Pune.

Referring to "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" slogan controversy and Yoga guru Ramdeo's comments, he said "We will certainly say 'Bharat Mata ki jai', but who has given you monopoly over this?"

The 29-year-old JNU student alleged that the nature of "Bharat Mata" was being altered. "Earlier, Bharat Mata held farm grains in one hand and tiranga on another. Now tricolour is being replaced by bhagwa (saffron). These people will change the national flag. They have nothing to do with nationalism. What they want to promote is one religion and one culture".

He said nationalism was being equated with "Brahminism" which signalled danger to the country. Kumar sought to dispel the notion that students in the

country were being instigated against the Prime Minister.

"We have no personal animosity against Modi. We are only demanding our rights. Give us employment. When we talk of democratic and constitutional rights of people, we are branded anti-national."

"What to eat and whom to love is everybody's constitutional right in this country," Kumar said. Referring to the FTII students' agitation over appointment of its Chairman, he alleged the RSS was trying to gain control over all national institutions and autonomy of universities in the country was being trampled upon.

An impression was being created that opposition to Modi and RSS amounted to being anti-national. Also, opposition to Manusmriti was like opposing the Constitution, he said.

Kumar, who was denied permission by police to visit the city-based FTII which saw prolonged agitation last year, said his fight for social equality, economic exploitation, justice and secularism would continue unabated.

A big crowd gathered outside the Balgandharva auditorium where the meeting was held, with police allowing only those with entry passes inside the venue.

Meanwhile, the airport police here have lodged two 'cross complaints' in connection with the incident. "The 33-year-old complainant Manas Deka today lodged a non-cognizable (NC) offence against a group of eight people alleging that they misbehaved with him and threatened him inside the plane," a senior IPS officer said.

However, the officer said Deka did not mention Kanhaiya's name in his NC. On the other hand, Kanhaiya's friend Dheeraj Sharma, who had accompanied him, lodged an NC against Deka alleging that the latter tried to strangulate Kanhaiya, he said.

Meanwhile, police are checking whether Deka had any affiliation with any political party. Deka told the airport police that he was sitting at

the window seat of the plane and Kanhaiya was in the middle seat between Deka and complainant Sharma. The plane was on way to Pune from Kolkata via a halt at Mumbai.

Deka and his 17 friends, who were also in the plane, were going to Pune from Kolkata, he added. Kanhaiya and his friends boarded the plan at Mumbai.

Deka 'mistakenly' stepped on Kanhaiya's leg and then he lost his balance, said police, adding to prevent himself from falling, Deka 'mistakenly' put his hand on Kanhaiya's shoulder, while Sharma thought that Deka was trying to strangulate the student leader.

As the argument escalated, the crew captain offloaded nine people from the plane, police said.

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