The situation in Delhi on Thursday was worse than that during the Emergency with internet shut, metro stations closed and crackdown on protests against the amended citizenship law, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury claimed on Thursday. He asserted that demonstrations against the contentious law will continue.
Hundreds of students, activists and opposition leaders were detained on Thursday when they defied prohibitory orders to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as large parts of the national capital reeled under restrictions on mobile internet services and traffic movement.
The Delhi metro closed as many as 20 metro stations in the wake of protests.
"India today has the ignominy of being the largest internet shutdown in the world. It is unacceptable. Metro stations were closed. This is worse than what we saw during the Emergency. The manner in which they are dealing with democratic protests is unacceptable.
"Today's protests showed the determination of youngsters to not let democracy be butchered. This was not a one off protest, such protests will continue," said Yechury, who along with other Left leaders, had called a nationwide protest against the law.
CPI general secretary D Raja said citizenship cannot be based on religion.
"The BJP is working against the legacy of Sardar Patel and citizenship cannot be based on religion... the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is an undeclared subversion of the Constitution by (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi and (Union Home Minister Amit) Shah," he claimed.
Raja said Left parties were overwhelmed with the support they received.
Both the leaders said the protests are not over a Hindu-Muslim issue, but a struggle to ensure that India remains a secular democratic republic.
"It is an undeclared subversion of the Constitution propagated by Modi-Shah. Our Uttar Pradesh state leaders were threatened with arrest and warned against attempting to protest the CAA" alleged Raja.
Yechury said they were a generation that fought the Emergency and restored democracy and "that is how it will be when people rise," he said.
He also said what is happening in the country is a "metamorphosis" of the character of India into a dictatorship, adding that this has to stop.
"We are in consultations with chief ministers who have said no to the NRC (National Register of Citizens). The situation has come to such a pass that even those that have voted for the law in Parliament are saying they won't support it. The protests will continue," he said.