BJP walks out after Chidambaram's reply on 1984 riots

BJP walks out after Chidambaram's reply on 1984 riots

The issue stirred passions with speakers roundly condemning the lack of action against the perpetrators of what Tarlochan Singh (Independent), who moved the calling attention motion, termed a "genocide".

Those who spoke included Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, S.S. Ahluwalia (both BJP), Brinda Karat (Communist Party of India-Marxist), D. Raja (Communist Party of India), Naresh Gujral (Akali Dal) and Avtar Singh Karimpuri (Bahujan Samaj Party).
In contrast, the demand for a separate Gorkhaland state to be carved out of West Bengal brought BJP veteran L.K. Advani and expelled party leader Jaswant Singh together in the Lok Sabha.

Chidambaram, in his reply to the five-hour discussion, lamented that Delhi Police officers who looked the other way during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots had not been prosecuted and said he was attempting to find ways to correct this lacuna. 
"Obviously, the situation is most unsatisfactory... I'm not satisfied, I am still trying to find a way of punishing those guilty of dereliction of duty. We  have to find a way," Chidambaram said. "Whatever we do, we have to do according to the law."
"In the last 25 years, if one category got away with virtually no action, it was the police. Departmental action was taken against seven officers but three got relief. In the case of prosecution, the record is even worse. Except for one case that is pending, there has been no prosecution," he said.

Not satisfied with the reply, BJP members walked out of the Rajya Sabha.
Moving the calling attention, Tarlochan Singh, a former member of the National Minorities Commission, said: "It was a genocide akin to the holocaust Hitler unleashed against the Jews (during World War II)." He also called for a separate Supreme Court committee on the riots.
"We want justice. How long do you want us to wait for justice?" he asked in response to Chidambaram's statement.
"The issue will never die down," he said, lamenting that police officers who looked the other way and failed to control the riots "have been given gallantry awards and promotions".

Apart from question hour and papers tabled, the issue dominated the day's proceedings, beginning around 12.15 p.m. and stretching well into the evening.
In the Lok Sabha, Leader of Opposition Advani responded positively to Darjeeling MP Jaswant Singh's request to support his demand that the government take steps to end the hunger strike by activists seeking the creation of Gorkhaland.
Recalling his three-decade long association with Advani and addressing the BJP MPs as his "former colleagues" during Zero Hour, Jaswant Singh said: "I appeal to my former colleagues to join me in my appeal to the government."
"In our manifesto, we have mentioned it (a separate Gorkhaland state). In the evening a delegation will meet me," Advani said in the house, addressing the Darjeeling MP as "my colleague".

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi told the Lok Sabha that the government will adopt a three-pronged strategy, including an "election type" house-to-house campaign, to contain Japanese Encephalitis (JE) infection that claimed 560 lives in Uttar Pradesh this year.

In a significant statement in the Rajya Sabha, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said people with a "shady character" should not become judges, adding the government would introduce a legislation to tighten existing laws and make the judiciary more accountable.

During the Question Hour, Moily said that the Judges (Standards and Accountability) Bill would be introduced "maybe in the last days of the (current) session (that lasts till Dec 21)" and admitted the existing Judges (Enquiry) Act of 1968 "needs to be revisited".

In a separate development, 75 non-Congress Rajya Sabha members submitted a notice to Chairman Hamid Ansari, seeking Karnataka Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran's impeachment.

Informed sources said that should the notice be accepted, a three-member committee would be set up to take procedural steps to remove Dinakaran, who is facing accusations of land grabbing and accumulating wealth beyond his known sources of income.