The recent furore in Delhi University's Ramjas College event which snowballed into a debate on nationalism and freedom of expression has found its latest combatant: the leader of an autorickshaw union in Delhi who has said that members won't allow 'anti-nationals' to sit in their vehicles.
Rajendra Soni claims his organisation was the 'biggest union in Delhi' representing autorickshaw drivers, but refused to provide any data about how many members it has.
"We live in Delhi. We are Indians. We won't allow them raise anti-national slogans," Soni, the General Secretary of the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh told ScoopWhoop News.
"First, they disturbed the environment of JNU and now they have come to DU. We can't let them take over all the universities of Delhi," he said, adding that he has 'serious concerns' of the ongoing situation in the city.
"Kashmir ki azaadi, Bastar ki azaadi, arey yeh log kaisi azaadi chahte hain (Freedom for Kashmir, freedom for Bastar, what kind of freedom do they want? If they have so much problem, then they can go to Pakistan or any other nation of their choice," he said. Haryana minister Anil Vij had a similar view on the matter.
How an anti-national will be identified
But wouldn't it be difficult for auto-rickshaw drivers to identify an 'anti-national' student to refuse them a ride? Soni said that it wouldn't be difficult at all to identify 'anti-nationals'.
"The faces of these people are already out in the media. Everyone knows who is going against the nation," he said confidently.
He also said that drivers can also identify those anti-nationals who aren't well known in the public.
"Do you think auto-rickshaw drivers don't know anything? We know everything what people are talking and where are they going," he said.
" If any driver feels that his passengers are indulging in anti-national talks, he will immediately stop his vehicle and ask them to leave. Moreover, he will also report them to police officials," Soni said.
'No political influence'
Soni says he was not acting or speaking for any political party.
"We have no relationship with any political party. We only represent taxis and autorickshaws of Delhi," he said, despite being a senior member of RSS's Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.
When asked about ABVP's alleged involvement in violence against students and teachers, he said he didn't want to talk about it and that the law will take its own course.
The union leader says these incidents have affected the city's residents.
"Parents in Delhi are scared to send their kids to colleges. Many autorickshaw drivers told me they are scared to visit college campuses now. Who is responsible for all that. Had Delhi Police acted during the JNU ruckus, things wouldn't have been this bad," he said.
(Feature image is representational | Source: PTI)