14 opposition MPs suspended from Lok Sabha for disrupting proceedings

New Delhi:  Fourteen opposition MPs from different parties were suspended from the Lok Sabha for the remaining period of Winter Session on Thursday for disrupting House proceedings.

Amid demands from the opposition for a statement from Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the security breach in Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved two resolutions on separate occasions for the suspension of the MPs.

Before their suspension, the MPs moved into the Well of the House raising slogans with demand of a statement from the government on the Wednesday security breach.

The House witnessed the first adjournment during the question hour when it was adjourned till 2 pm amid opposition’s uproar.

At 2 pm, Joshi read a statement on behalf of the government and said the internal security in Parliament comes under the purview of the Speaker.

He then moved a resolution amid the din to suspend five MPs.

“I move the following that this House having taken misconduct of T N Prathapan, Hibi Eden, Jothimani, Ramya Haridas and Dean Kuriakose in utter disregard to the House and the authority of this Chair and having been named by the chair … to be suspended from the service of the House for reminder session,” the resolution read.

The House was then adjourned till 3 pm.

As soon as the House met at 3 pm, Joshi moved a second resolution to suspend VK Sreekandan (Cong), Benny Behanan (Cong), Mohammad Jawed (Cong), PR Natarajan (CPI-M), Kanimozhi (DMK), K Subbarayan (CPI), SR Parthiban (DMK), S Venkatesan (CPI-M), and Manickam Tagore (Cong).

An MP claimed later that Prathiban was named among the suspended MPs even as he is not present in Delhi and is in Chennai.

The House was adjourned to meet again on Friday. Some of the suspended members continued to protest in the House even after the adjournment. A few of them came out after some time.

Opposition members in the Lok Sabha on Thursday held vociferous protests demanding a statement from the government on the Parliament security breach even as Speaker Om Birla asserted that security of the Parliament complex is the responsibility of the Lok Sabha Secretariat.

The Winter Session of Parliament, which started on December 4, will conclude on December 22.

‘Suspensions done to hide govt’s failures’: Reacting to her suspension, DMK MP Kanimozhi said: “We want the PM and the Home Minister to come and give a statement in the House, they’re not prepared to do that. And when we protested, they are suspending all the opposition MPs. First suspended five, then they suspended nine people. So how is this democracy?”

She also questioned why no action has been taken against BJP MP Pratap Simha, who is under scrutiny for providing Parliament passes to the accused in the security breach.

“There is an MP who has actually given the passes for these (accused of Parliament security breach) people to come in. No action has been taken against that MP. Whereas we saw what happened in Mahua’s case. Without even the inquiry being complete, she has been disqualified and this MP is not even suspended. He’s inside Parliament with us,” Kanimozhi said.

Terming the security breach a “colossal security and intelligence failure” Congress MP Karti Chidambaram said: “…Just because we demanded and protested, in order to stifle our voice, about 15 odd MPs have been suspended for the remaining of the session. We want the government to come and inform the House on what happened yesterday and what are the steps that they are taking.”

JD(U) MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh said the suspensions were done to “hide the government’s failures.”

“They want to scare the Opposition. You can’t govern by creating fear…They can suspend, they have the majority and can do whatever they want…You would have seen their conduct had the two men who entered the Parliament yesterday been Muslims or had it been a Congress MP who issued them passes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal called the suspensions “shocking” and questioned the Centre’s “culture” of not letting opposition members voice their opinions in the House.

“It is shocking and this is the culture that they have developed in this. The moment you oppose something – they don’t allow you to speak. If you say something, they will say nothing that you are saying is going on record. So what’s the point of being a member of Parliament and participating in our discussion? You should have a healthy discussion in the House. We used to have it,” he said.