New Delhi, Aug 30: Describing as a 'witch hunt' the arrest of five human rights activists by Pune police in multi-city raids on Tuesday, the Congress on Wednesday said that it was a knee jerk reaction over the huge anger among the Dalits, against the NDA government.
Talking to reporters here, AICC Spokesperson Manish Tewari said, 'People, who have been arrested yesterday, hold responsible positions in civil society organisations, whether the PUCL or PUDR. 'Article 21 of the Constitution holds that no person can be deprived of his life or liberty except in accordance with the law. This applies to everybody across the board.
'So therefore, it is incumbent upon the Government to put in public space as to what are the reasons and why these arrests have taken place. Otherwise, these multi city arrests can only be characterized as witch-hunt and as vendetta.’
Tewari said the arrests were a knee jerk reaction over the huge anger among the Dalits, against the NDA government. 'For the last four years, there has been a ground swell of anger, especially among the 'Dalit' community against this Government – the NDA-BJP Government. They seem to have completely got unnerved and overawed by the extent of resentment, which is there against the NDA-BJP Government and in the absence of compelling reasons of these arrests, it can only be characterised as a knee-jerk reaction,' he added.
The Congress leader said the arrests were a reflection of the NDA government's move to stifle freedom of expression.
'The people you have arrested are those, who have been active in the public space for a long time. We may not agree with their views, we may have fundamental disagreement with their views, but we do not have a disagreement with their right to hold their view.
“The difference between the UPA and the BJP-NDA is that while we may have had fundamental disagreement with the views of certain individuals or organizations, this government believes that those, who have a view different from theirs, do not have the right to hold a view. That is why you have seen the most bizarre narrative play itself out in the last four years. If you question the BJP, you are anti-national, if you question the government, you are seditious, and if you question the establishment, you are a traitor,” he said.
'So therefore, I do hope that these conventions will be very short lived, that this government has tried to lay down in the past four years a frontal assault on the fundamental right of people and the democracy,' he said. UNI