Why are political leaders who hold a different view than the BJP not allowed to speak in BJP-ruled states? This question was simmering on Twitter after two back to back incidents – HK Arts College in Ahmedabad cancelling their annual function on Monday, 11 February, where Gujarat Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani was scheduled to talk, and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav being reportedly detained at Lucknow airport on Tuesday, 12 February, in a bid to stop him from attending an event at the Allahabad University.
Since my event is cancled in H.k.arts college I am making this announcement - in coming months I will be planning my series of lectures in various colleges and universities across the country on two subject - "chokidar hi chor hai " and "Modi, the urban manu "@narendramodi— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) February 12, 2019
I was prevented from boarding the airplane without any written orders. Currently detained at Lucknow airport.— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) February 12, 2019
It is clear how frightened the govt is by the oath ceremony of a student leader. The BJP knows that youth of our great country will not tolerate this injustice anymore! pic.twitter.com/xtnpNWtQRd
Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath justified his decision of detaining Akhilesh Yadav, saying it was done to maintain the ‘law and order’situation in the Allahabad University Campus.
Allahabad University had already requested the administration in this matter. If Shri Akhilesh Yadav comes to the Allahabad University campus, the hostility between the student unions might increase and there could be a violent clash and it could lead to threat to law and order.— Yogi Adityanath (@myogiadityanath) February 12, 2019
But many political leaders questioned the BJP government and accused it of having a “fascist” and “dictatorial” attitude.
Spoke to Akhilesh ji. We strongly condemn BJP’s conduct. This is yet another example of BJP’s dictatorial attitude. https://t.co/WliPMBameM— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 12, 2019
I strongly condemn the illegal restraint of Samajwadi Party leader @yadavakhilesh at the Lucknow airport.— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) February 12, 2019
This is a denial of his fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Our democracy is in danger of being wiped out by the fascist tendencies of the BJP.
I've already spoken to @yadavakhilesh. We all condemn the arrogant attitude of the so-called #BJP ‘leaders’ who didn't allow Akhilesh to address the students. Even @jigneshmevani80 was not allowed. Where is the democracy in our country? And they are giving lessons to everybody!— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) February 12, 2019
Is the Modi government scared to let other leaders interact with students? Twitter asked.
Many Twitter users reminded how bhakts attacked Mamata Banerjee when Yogi Adityanath’s chopper was denied permission to land in Kolkata.
Akhikesh Yadav stopped at Allahabad**— nehr_who? (@Nehr_who) February 13, 2019
Bhakt:: Hahahaha, Thik kiya, Maza aa gaya, Good move, Har har Yogi.
Yogi's chopper Denied permission**
Bhakts:: Where is Democracy? This is Dictatorship, Hitler didi. Is bengal another country?
Others called out the double standards of the bhakts protesting against Twitter for freedom of speech.
So BJP right wing supporters will not allow a leader like @jigneshmevani80 to speak, but are protesting for their freedom of speech on @Twitter. How many right wingers are supporting Jignesh Mevani for his right to freedom of speech? #TwitterProtests https://t.co/KF3YahpVRk— SavvyPriya (@SavvyPriya) February 12, 2019
However, some also accused Akhilesh Yadav of having double standards as he had denied permission to All India Majlish-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi’s rallies when he was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
क्या हुआ अखिलेश यादव जी— PARWEZ KHAN (@Parwezk911) February 12, 2019
अब लोकतंत्र याद आने लगा
सत्ता के नशे में कितना ज़ुल्म किया था कितनी बार ओवैसी साहब को रोका था कुछ याद भी है,
क्योंकि अल्लाह के घर देर है अंधेर नही @yadavakhilesh pic.twitter.com/7JSxP1OaGH
The principal and vice principal of Gujarat’s HK College quit protesting the dis-invitation of Jignesh Mevani. Twitterati hailed them and said it was an admirable act.
I salute the Principal and Vice Principal who have resigned because their college's trustees disinvited @jigneshmevani80 . They represent the best traditions of Gujarat. Patel, Gandhi, and Hansa Mehta would have been proud of them:https://t.co/JqiYcRtfMv— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) February 12, 2019
The principal and vice principal of a Ahmedabad college quit after management says no to alumnus @jigneshmevani80 as chief guest at the institution's annual function.— Rajesh Mahapatra (@rajeshmahapatra) February 12, 2019
Their decision is admirable commendable, salute-worthy. Let's take a bow ???https://t.co/rHFQokv6jo
On the most recent assault on freedom of speech and the academy in India and how integrity demands one respond -— Audrey Truschke (@AudreyTruschke) February 12, 2019
“It is a murder of democracy, and to resign was not just the right thing, but the only thing one could do as the principal.”https://t.co/mbKFUYr0TD
The general sentiment on Twitter and otherwise is that BJP is trying to stop the Opposition leaders from engaging with the youth because they are scared. Gagging free speech is one of the criticisms that the Modi government has received time and again. The question is if the BJP can afford to take another blow if it wants to form the government again.
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