NEW DELHI: Hitting back at Sonia Gandhi for her remark that the Modi government has "declared a war on its own people", Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the Congress president was shedding "crocodile tears" for political gains.
She also questioned Congress's record in defending students, asking was it not under former PM Indira Gandhi's rule that the students of a central university in Delhi were sent to Tihar Jail.
Police had entered the university that time and a whole academic year had to be declared null and void, the BJP leader said.
Sitharaman said Gandhi's remarks on the government were irresponsible and motivated.
In a statement on the police crackdown in Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia University, Gandhi has alleged that the BJP government had declared a war on its own people and that "the writers of this script of polarisation" were Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Rejecting the statement, saying it was made for political gains, Sitharaman questioned what has the Congress done to punish the perpetrators of mob violence during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
"Sonia Gandhi is shedding crocodile tears for students," the Union minister said.
Citing that Congress leader and then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2003 in parliament had asked for being more liberal in granting citizenship to Bangladeshi minorities, Sitharaman sought to know whether the Congress president and her party have changed their stance since.
"Are Smt Sonia Gandhi's human rights reserved only for some and not for the oppressed Hindu Bengalis who have fled oppression in a much inhuman and demeaning way and are for the last several decades languishing in camps all over the country," she asked.
Sitharaman said as a responsible opposition party, it is incumbent Gandhi to call on all to maintain peace and calm and ensure that the Congress party "does not provoke violence".