New Delhi: Responding to BJP president Amit Shah's criticism of Rahul Gandhi over the Jawaharlal Nehru University row, the Congress on Monday said it does not need lessons in patriotism from those "who are inheritors of thought process of Nathu Ram Godse".
"Those who killed thought process of Mahatma Gandhi and those who are inheritors of thought process of Nathu Ram Godse (who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi) need not teach the nation and the Congress new definition of patriotism," Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters here.
He said the Congress has a history of fighting terrorism and its leaders have made the supreme sacrifice for the unity and integrity of the country.
He accused the Narendra Modi government of trying to suppress the voices of youth and students.
He said anyone who had committed a wrong at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) should be punished, but "it's not true at all that anyone who raises voice against the Modi government is anti-national".
"There is freedom of expression in the country. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has similar views," Surjewala said.
The government, he said, "should abandon the path of suppressing voices opposed to it" and focus on governance.
Amit Shah in a blog said no citizen can accept that a terrorist is favoured and anti-India slogans raised at a prestigious university of the country.
"But the kind of statements that Rahul Gandhi and his party colleagues have delivered at the campus proves that there is no place for national interest in their thinking," he said.
The JNU has been on the boil over the arrest of its students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges. The controversy started when some JNU students organised a meet on February 9 to mark the anniversaries of executions of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front co-founder Maqbool Bhat. Anti-India slogans were reportedly raised at the gathering.
Delhi Police on Thursday registered a sedition case and arrested Kanhaiya Kumar. He was sent to three days' police custody on Friday although he denied raising the anti-India slogans.