RS adjourns 4 times before lunch as Cong, BSP protest

RS adjourns 4 times before lunch as Cong, BSP  protest

 Slogan shouting Congress and BSP members today forced four adjournments of Rajya Sabha in the pre-lunch session demanding dismissal of SAD-BJP government in Punjab over alleged atrocities against Dalit youths there.

Soon after a new member, Narendra Kumar Swain of BJD, took oath and Chairman Hamid Ansari read out obituary reference of an ex-member, Sharad Anantrao Joshi, BSP supremo Mayawati was on her feet raising the issue of alleged chopping off of limbs of two dalit youth at a farmhouse in Abohar.

With the Chair continuing with the listed business of getting papers laid on the table, slogan shouting BSP and Congress members trooped into the Well of the House.

They shouted "Dalit virodhi yeh sarkar nahi chalegi (anti-Dalit government will not be tolerated)" as well as slogans seeking dismisal of SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

Amid the din, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a suo motu statement on her visit to Islambad and recent development relating to ties between India and Pakistan.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affiars Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government condemns the incident in strongest possible terms and supports strict action being taken against the accused, but a state subject cannot be discussed in Parliament.

Law and order is a state subject, he said, adding that the state government has to be trusted upon for taking action against the guilty.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said Swaraj had made an important statement and he would allow clarifications to be asked on it. But none heeded.

"If you have any problem, you go to your seat. I will allow you to raise," he said. "Please go to your seat. Why are you doing this?"

As his pleas went unheeded, he said "some members are hijacking the House". "It is most unfortunate, undemocratic that few members are taking the House to ransom. You have no justification for doing it," he said, adjourning the House till 11.30 hours.

When the House reassembled, Congress and BSP members were again in Well.

Kurien tried to pacify the agitating members and urged them to return to their seats, but the sloganeering continued.

Naqvi said "The culprits should be given strictest possible punishment. State government is taking action. State government should be trusted," he said.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the incident took place in a farm house and alleged that there was "jungle raj" in Punjab. He also said a 12-year old girl was run over by a vehicle.

"The coalition government in Punjab is worse than terrorism. There is no law and order in the state. The state government should be dismissed. ... We are not just demanding action (against accused), we are talking about dismissal of the (state) government," Azad said.

Terming the Punjab incident as "painful and shameful", BSP chief Mayawati alleged that the liquor mafia was behind the incident and said the two youths were called to the farm house, as part of a conspiracy, and their legs and hands chopped off using a saw.

"Central government should intervene. The state government should be dismissed," she said as members in the Well raised slogans like 'Dalit virodhi sarkar nahi chalegi. (Anti-Dalit government will not be tolerated)".

As the din continued, Kurien said he was "disappointed" with the "unruly behaviour" of the slogan shouting members and adjourned the Rajya Sabha till noon.

When the House reassembled, BSP and Congress members again came into the Well as Chairman Hamid Ansari announced that Question Hour be taken up.

"Please go back to your seats. The Questions are yours, not of the government," Ansari said, but protesting members continued to raise slogans.

Ansari's pleas to allow the House to function went unheeded as members raised slogans like "Punjab sarkar barkhast karo (dismiss the Punjab government)".

"You have no locus standi in the Well. None whatsoever," said Ansari as his pleas to members to return to their seats did not evoke any response.

He then adjourned the House till 12:30 PM. When the House reassembled, Congress and BSP members again trooped into the Well, with Naqvi saying that the government condemns the incident in strongest terms and the SAD-BJP government in Punjab is taking "strict action without any dilly-dallying".

Asserting that law and order was a state subject, Naqvi assured that "perpetrators of the crime will not be spared at any cost" and called it a "serious and unfortunate" incident.

Ansari tried to convince members to return to their seats but as the din continued, he adjourned the House till 2 PM.

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