Rajghat out of bounds on Martyrs’ Day

Published : January 31, 2020 17:54 IST

Leaders of the Left parties take part in a human chain in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act near Rajghat in Delhi on January 30. Photo: Manvender Vashist/PTI

On January 30, Martyrs’ Day, the samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat in Delhi remained out of bounds for common people and activists who wanted to pay their homage to Gandhij and observe silence. In the context of the ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the Delhi Police turned the area into a fortress and did not allow anyone to go near the Samadhi.

A human chain and march towards Rajghat organised by civil society organisations and Left parties against the CAA was denied permission by the police. Instead, a few Left leaders, including Prakash Karat, D. Raja, Sitaram Yechury and Brinda karat, were allowed for a brief while to stand at a distance away from Rajghat, sing the national anthem and observe a minute’s silence. Some activists, including Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan and advocate Prashant Bhushan, were pushed around and detained for a while when they tried to march towards Rajghat.

Hundreds of policemen in riot gear were deployed in the area to maintain law and order. Empty buses lined the road to take detained people away from Rajghat. Brinda Karat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said, “It’s Gandhi’s martyrdom anniversary today, he was killed because he was a symbol of the unity of the people of India, the unity of people of all religions and beliefs, but the sad story is that this government under Amit Shah’s Home Ministry is not allowing the people of Delhi to even pay homage to Gandhi in a befitting manner.”

She said the irony was that when a pistol-wielding man fired at peaceful protesters at Jamia Nagar the same Delhi Police was a mute spectator, but used force against peacefully standing people wanting to pay homage to the Mahatma. She said Minister Anurag Thakur’s “Goli Maro” call was now being enacted in the capital.

“The hate speeches in the capital by Amit Shah and other BJP campaigners make each Indian hang her head in shame because they have learned nothing from the martyrdom of Gandhiji,”she said.

Prasant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav attacked the Delhi Police. “You can see how people with guns are walking and how people who are carrying the Constitution of India are treated, but in the end it is clear that Gandhiji will win and Godse will ultimately loose,” said Yogendra Yadav.

He was referring to the incident at Jamia Nagar where a pistol-wielding young man fired at peaceful protesters, injuring a student even as scores of policemen stood by watching.