Ramjas college violence example of how India's tradition of peaceful protests is crushing: Irfan Habib

Noted historian Irfan Habib today said the followers of those forces which distributed sweets when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated are now trying to teach people the meaning of nationalism.

Published: 28th February 2017 07:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2017 07:02 PM   |  A+A-

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By PTI

ALIGARH: Noted historian Irfan Habib today said the followers of those forces which distributed sweets when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated are now trying to teach people the meaning of nationalism.

He led a peace march on the Aligarh Muslim University campus to express solidarity with the students of Ramjas College that was the scene of clashes between the members Left-backed AISA and the RSS-backed ABVP on February 22.

Addressing the rally at the Arts Faculty lawns, Habib said the last week's incident at Ramjas College marks a "new low in the narrative of threat to free speech, democracy and the right to protest in today's India".

The February 22 violence at Delhi University's North Campus is not an isolated incident but part of a "systematic move to crush India's tradition of peaceful protests which began nearly two centuries ago during the British rule", he said.

"It is ironical that the forces, the adherents of which distributed sweets when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, are trying to teach us the meaning of nationalism," the history professor said.

Lauding Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur, who started a social media campaign against the Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad, he said she is as a role model for the country's youth.

Batting for the rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir, he said, "Whenever any person raises the issue of the democratic rights of people of Kashmir, the government tries to browbeat them by accusing them of being anti-national... Those who use violence to crush the weakest sections of society are the real anti-nationals."

"When the land and territory of Kashmir belongs to India, people of Kashmir are also Indians. They have every right to enjoy all fruits of democracy available to people of rest of India," the professor emeritus at AMU said.

Attacking BJP, he said that like "Adolf Hitler the leaders of the party swear in the name of the poor but follow policies which help the rich".

The speeches given by some of the senior most BJP leaders during the poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh have exposed the divisive politics of this party, Habib said, citing the "graveyard and cremation ground" remark of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 



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