• Attack on Kanhaiya Kumar’s rally: Anti-CAA protesters demand action and security

    Mohd. Imran Khan

    February 6, 2020

    Patna: A day after former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president and Communist Party of India leader, Kanhaiya Kumar-led Jana-Gana-Mana Yatra in protest against CAA-NRC-NPR was attacked second time within a week by a group of right-wing youths in Bihar, NPR-NRC-CAA Virodhi Sangharsh Morcha has demanded action against the accused and security for the ongoing Yatra.A delegation of the Morcha on Thursday met Bihar Home Secretary Amir Subhani and submitted a memorandum regarding the attacks on Jana-Gana-Mana Yatra and sought security.Ashish Ranjan of Morcha, while speaking to NewsClick, said that the attack on Yatra is a part of well-designed politics of hate by the right-wing forces led by the BJP. “It is the duty of the police to identify the attackers and arrest them immediately,” he said. Chandrakanta, another active member of Morcha, said, “We will also inform Bihar Chief Secretary to DGP about the attacks and will request action against the people involved and punishment for them if there is a rule of law in the state.”

    According to a release by Morcha, the way Yatra was attacked twice in span of five days, it appeared to be an organised attempt by BJP’s supporters to generate trouble, fear and panic among those accompanying the Yatra.Most recently, the Yatra was attacked in Supaul district by a group of nearly 100 people, mostly youths, shouting objectionable and provocative slogans targeting the participants. “ The attackers were shouting and raising slogans that are more or less the same provocative and anti-constitutional statements issued by the senior BJP leaders and Union ministers in their addresses at public meetings,” read the release.According to an activist, who is part of this Yatra, the slogan-shouting youths attacked vehicles, pelted stones and tried to stop the protesters near a busy market under—not far away from District Magistrate’s residence in Supaul town.Kanhaiya, along with another former JNUSU president and Congress MLA from Bihar's Kadwa Assembly seat, Shakeel Ahmad Khan, escaped unhurt in the attack, but their driver received a head injury and was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment.Three vehicles that were part of Kanhaiya’s Yatra were damaged by the attackers and three members including a woman sustained injuries. Supaul Superintendent of Police (in-charge) Sudhir Kumar Podikar has confirmed that the vehicle driver has suffered a head injury during the stone-pelting by the attackers.

    Khan said that Yatra was on its way from Supaul to Saharsa when it was attacked. “Everyone has the right to support or oppose the government’s policies. But to wage an attack like this time and again exposes their violent mindset. Nevertheless, we will continue our Yatra. This was the second time that the Yatra was attacked in the state. Last week, it was attacked in Chhapra district. Glasses of five vehicles of the Yatra were damaged and some people sustained injuries then as well.”He added that the Yatra has been getting unexpected and overwhelming support from the local people on its way, cutting across communities. “Huge crowds have gathered at every public meeting. This is giving sleepless nights to the forces supporting CAA-NRC,” said Khan.The Yatra has faced opposition in Bettiah, West Champaran, Gopalganj and Jhanjharpur, apart from the two attacks.

    The march began on January 30 from Bhitiharwa Ashram in Bihar's West Champaran district—the historic land associated with M K Gandhi’s first satyagraha. It is expected to reach Gandhi Maidan in Patna and will then culminate into a rally on February 29, after covering the length and breadth of the state. Last week, after a high-voltage drama by the local administration on orders from the top, Kanhaiya Kumar, along with others were not allowed to hold a meeting and detained for nearly an hour ahead of the month-long people’s Yatra. There was heavy police deployment near Bhitiharwa Ashram, but the people organised a peaceful sit-in and forced the district administration to allow them to hold a meeting there, which was addressed by Kanhaiya Kumar, among others.

    The Yatra is being held under the banner of ‘Bihar NPR-NRC-CAA Virodhi Sangharsh Morcha’. It is a joint effort of the civil society outfits, mass movement organisations, political workers, concerned individuals of the state, among others.

    “The Yatra has a single agenda—to reach out to the people. It will cover all 38 districts of Bihar and would address the people to bust the myths being propagated by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party about NRC-NPR-CAA. The purpose is to educate people from all the communities and bring them together to oppose the anti-people policies of the central government,” said Khan.

    “During the Yatra, we are focusing on the real issues of the people like joblessness, poverty, economic slowdown, farmers’ distress, price rise among others,” he added.

    Bihar CM and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar, an ally of the BJP, is supporting CAA. He recently even expelled two senior party leaders–Prashant Kishor and Pawan Verma–for challenging and questioning his support to CAA.

    The expulsion of both—Kishor, party national vice-president and Verma, party general secretary—from the JD-U by Nitish Kumar is being seen as his assurance to the BJP that there is no place in his party for those opposing CAA.

    First published in NewsClick

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