Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar questioned the opposition parties for supporting the Shaheen Bagh protests. He pointed out that young children were being forced to make provocative remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Javadekar also cited the controversial statement of Sharjeel Imam, one of the organizers of the Shaheen Bagh protests. He recalled that Imam had appealed for breaking away North East from the rest of the country. Thereafter, the Union Environment Minister demanded a clarification from the opposition on whether it agreed with Imam’s comments.
Prakash Javadekar remarked, “Some people were coaxed into the protest. Some people were misled to join the protest. But what are the speeches happening there? If a 6-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy says that I want to kill Modiji and Amit Shah, then what kind of poison are you spreading? This is the issue. We have to understand this face of Shaheen Bagh. When Sharjeel speaks, he gives slogans for breaking the country. I want to ask those who support Shaheen Bagh, do you support Sharjeel’s slogans of breaking India?”
Since the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, hundreds of people have staged a sit-in protest at Shaheen Bagh in the national capital. Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar has also addressed the gathering. However, both the Lieutenant Governor as well as the Delhi police have appealed to the protesters to vacate the road as it is causing inconvenience to the people of the national capital. Meanwhile, BJP leaders including PM Modi have accused the opposition of fueling these protests.
The controversial remarks came to light on January 25 when BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra shared a video that features Imam. In the video purportedly from Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh, he is heard saying that 5 lakh people can come together and permanently cut the North-East from India. Moreover, he stressed that this was the only way in which the Indian government would pay heed to the concerns of the protesters.
In the video, Imam said, "If we have 5 lakh organized people then we can permanently cut north-east from India or at least for one month. Put so much (unclear) on the road that they cannot even remove it for a month. It is our responsibility to isolate Assam from India, then only they will listen to us."