New Delhi: Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the second day in a row on Friday following vociferous protests over the Manipur violence by opposition MPs, demanding a statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, evoking a sharp reaction from Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who accused the protesting members of not being serious about the discussion on Manipur.
The government said it was ready for a debate in both Houses with a response from the Home Minister, but the opposition remained adamant on their demand for a statement by the Prime Minister in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha followed by a debate without any time restriction.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla also told the protesting members that sloganeering will not bring any solution to the problem but only dialogue and discussion can.
The Monsoon session of Parliament started on Thursday, a day after a horrific video of two women being sexually assaulted and paraded by a mob on May 4 in a Manipur village went viral, triggering a nationwide outrage.
Soon after the House met, members of opposition parties including the Congress, left and DMK, were on their feet raising slogans “Manipur is bleeding”.
With the opposition members refusing to stop their sloganeering, Birla said,”You don’t want the House to function, you don’t want the Question Hour to take place. All other members want the House to run. This is not good. The solution can be found only through discussions” and added that it “seems you just don’t want any discussion”.
As the opposition members remained unrelenting, Birla asked the Defence Minister to speak.
Singh, who is also the deputy leader of the House, said the Manipur situation should be taken seriously and the seriousness of the government was reflected when the Prime Minister commented that the entire country was feeling ashamed over the Manipur incidents.
“We want that there should be discussions on Manipur incidents. I have said this in an all-party meeting and I want to reiterate here that there should be discussions on Manipur incidents”, Singh said.
“But I can see that the opposition is unnecessarily creating problems so that no discussions take place on the Manipur situation. I want to say that the opposition is not serious about a discussion on Manipur as it should have been. We want a discussion on the Manipur situation and there should be a discussion. The opposition should take it seriously,” he said.
As the opposition did not relent, the speaker adjourned the proceedings till noon.
When Lok Sabha reassembled, opposition members trooped into the well, raising slogans and demanding a reply from the Prime Minister and his presence in the House.
Rajendra Agrawal, who was in the Chair, asked members to return to their seats for a discussion on this sensitive issue to be held, but the sloganeering continued. Members also displayed placards as part of their protests.
Asserting that the government was ready for a debate, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said,”The entire country is concerned about the Manipur situation… we are equally concerned.” As the protests continued Agarwal adjourned the proceedings for the day.
In the Rajya Sabha too, the proceedings were disrupted for the second day as opposition MPs created ruckus over the Manipur violence and other issues.
The upper house was first adjourned in the morning till 2 PM over the Manipur issue and the opposition raising objections to the Chair expunging certain words from the record.
Soon after reassembling at 2:30 pm for taking up private members’ bills, Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar informed the members about the report of the business advisory committee (BAC) after its meeting held on Thursday and said it should be taken into account.
This led to an uproar in the house with several opposition members raising objections over the listing of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill along with the Forest Conservation Bill, saying they had already expressed their views against the proposed legislations during the BAC meeting.
With most opposition members on their feet, the Chairman adjourned the house till Monday within minutes of its resumption.
The opening day of the Monsoon session of Parliament on Thursday witnessed heated exchanges over the Manipur violence and the horrific video. Dhankhar had also expunged references made by TMC MP Derek O’Brien seeking the Prime Minister’s response to the violence.
On Friday, O’Brien sought to raise a point of order over the expunging of the words.
Referring to the rule and page number from the rule book, O’Brien said the rule pertains to the expunging of words used in Parliament — what can be used and what can’t be. As he repeated his remarks made on Thursday, the chairman again expunged them from the record on Friday.
As O’Brien tried to explain, the House plunged into disorder and Dhankhar adjourned the proceedings till 2.30 pm.
Earlier, after official papers were laid, Dhankhar started reading out time allocated for government business and mentioned The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill that is to replace an ordinance on services in Delhi.
Even before he could complete it, AAP MPs were up on their feet calling the bill “unconstitutional”. Dhankhar asked them to maintain decorum in the House. But MPs from AAP, including Sanjay Singh, continued to object, saying no bill can be brought that is unconstitutional.
“I give time to everyone by rules. This House is the house of elders. Our conduct is being watched by more than 1.3 billion people. We have to be exemplary in our conduct so that we can be appreciated. It is not a public street. It is not a platform,” the chairman said.
Dhankhar also said that the concept of sub-judice is totally misconceived and the house is entitled to discuss everything under the planet with one restriction provided under Article 121.