Oppn raises Dalit issue, RS adjourned 6 times

Oppn raises Dalit issue, RS adjourned 6 times

Walkouts, uproars in Lok Sabha

Oppn raises Dalit issue, RS adjourned 6 times
Parliament on Wednesday witnessed a major face-off between the government and the Opposition over atrocities on Dalits in Gujarat. The Congress, BSP and almost the rest of the Opposition targeted the government in both the Houses over the recent incident of a brutal assault on some Dalits at Una in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat, a state ruled by the BJP. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned six times with MPs trooping into the Well of the House.

The Lok Sabha too witnessed similar scenes, with noisy uproars and walk-outs by the members of the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress and the communist parties.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, however, sought to turn the tables on the main Opposition party, citing figures that revealed that the atrocities on Dalits in Gujarat came down after Narendra Modi had taken over as chief minister in 2001.

Seven people of the community were publicly beaten up by members of a local vigilante group, Gau Rakshak Samiti (Association of Cow Protectors), for skinning a dead cow at Mota Samadhiyala village in Una on July 11. The Dalits were accused of killing the cow. The incident triggered protests that spread across Gujarat.

Singh lauded the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel-led government in Gujarat for acting ‘swiftly’ and ‘effectively’ by arresting nine of the accused, initiating the process to set up a special court to try them and providing medical care and compensation to the victims. His praise for the state government triggered protests from the Opposition MPs.

“It is an unfortunate incident. No words are enough to condemn it,” the home minister said, adding that Prime Minister Modi was deeply hurt by the incident.

Earlier in the day, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed notices submitted by several Opposition MPs for adjournment motions on the issue. She continued with the Question Hour even as Congress MPs raised slogans like “where is the Gujarat model”, “where are the achhe din” and “stop atrocities on Dalits”. During the Zero Hour, Congress leader K Suresh demanded that a Joint Parliamentary Committee be constituted and sent to Gujarat to asses the situation.

In the Rajya Sabha, Trinamool Congress’ Derek O'Brien was the first to raise the issue with participation from Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and BSP chief Mayawati. The Opposition parties trooped to the Well whenever the House reassembled, but their vociferous sloganeering did not allow transaction of any business.