Govt, Oppn trade charges as Parliament remains disrupted

New Delhi: As Parliament logjam on Manipur persisted on Monday, opposition parties stuck to their demand for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the issue, saying why the PM is speaking outside the House but not inside, and the ruling BJP accused them of running away from the debate by disrupting proceedings.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda met with Modi at his office in Parliament amid the logjam, though sources said organisational matters were on the agenda as well.

Separately, Defence Minister and Deputy Leader of Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh spoke to some opposition members, including Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, over the phone on Sunday to end the deadlock.

Both Houses of Parliament witnessed protests and adjournments again on Monday as opposition parties raised slogans and carried placards demanding a statement by the prime minister on the violence in Manipur.

The government has said it is ready for a debate, insisting that Home Minister Shah will speak on the issue. The opposition, however, has insisted that a statement be made by the prime minister.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has accused the government of being insensitive. “Our demand is that the PM should come to the House and make a statement. We are ready to discuss that statement. You are speaking outside but not inside, this is an insult to Parliament. It is a serious matter,” he said.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi questioned the government’s failure in controlling the situation in Manipur and said Prime Minister Modi should speak on the issue. It has been more than 80 days and violence is still not decreasing, she added.

“Does the PM have no answerability? He gave a 36-second statement outside Parliament, but he is not telling the country through Parliament why has the chief minister not been sacked yet. Why has the home minister failed in controlling the situation? Why is the Women and Child Development Minister not visiting Manipur yet,” she asked.

JD-U leader Lalan Singh said the incidents in Manipur have shamed the nation. “Manipur has a ‘double-engine’ government, they are totally insensitive towards it. Our demand is that the PM should come to the House and give a statement,” he added.

TMC MP Saugata Roy said his party has decided to demonstrate in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue against the atrocities in Manipur. “We want a Parliament debate, which the prime minister should initiate,” he said.

BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi, meanwhile, accused opposition leaders of running away from a debate and also questioned their “silence” on issues of violence against women in other states.

“The opposition’s silence on crime against women in Rajasthan and West Bengal is troublesome. What is more painful is that the Rajasthan chief minister was not listening to his own minister,” he alleged.

Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said, “The opposition should not make excuses. The PM has already made a statement on Manipur with sensitivity and firmness ahead of the (Monsoon) session. It is wrong that we didn’t start the discussion (on the Manipur issue in Parliament) at all by making an excuse in the name of the PM.” The Manipur violence rocked the proceedings in both Houses of Parliament on the first two days of the Monsoon session on Thursday and Friday, with the opposition demanding a statement from the prime minister and a discussion on the situation in the strife-torn northeastern state.

The session commenced a day after a video clip purportedly shot on May 4 and showing two women being paraded naked by a mob in a Manipur village went viral, triggering a nationwide outrage.

The Manipur Police has arrested several accused who were seen in the video. The police said a case of abduction, gang rape and murder has been registered at the Nongpok Sekmai police station in Thoubal district against unidentified armed miscreants.