Yoga guru Baba Ramdev slammed those student protesters who were often heard chanting the word 'azaadi' (freedom) during their agitation against CAA saying that such acts are tarnishing the image of the country and its institutions. He was speaking at an event in Kolkata on Monday where he said that people need to understand that the Citizenship Amendment Act is to provide citizenship and not snatch it away.
"The students who should study for their BA, MA, Ph.D. are sloganeering azaadi; Gandhi wali azaadi, Nehru wali azaadi which is okay but the Jinnah wali azaadi, what is that? This process is not good. The country's image and that of its institutions are tarnished. The country will move ahead only with dedication, determination and devotion," Baba Ramdev said.
Baba Ramdev also asserted that the CAA does not take away the citizenship of any Indian and is a step to provide relief to persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries. "Those who don't know the full form of CAA are abusing PM Modi. The PM has clearly stated the law is to give citizenship and not take away anyone's. The PM is saying this, the Home Minister is saying this, yet people are creating chaos. There is anarchy in the name of NRC."
The word azaadi has now been associated with a wider anti-government agitation across India since the contentious CAA was introduced in December. Students in various universities like Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia University were heard raising slogans of azaadi during their protests which turned violent over the course of two weeks. On social media, the word has been used to slam the Centre's policies like the proposed National Register of Citizens and a rising feeling of discontent against expansive state power.