Protests By Opposition Over Delhi Violence Rocks Indian Parliament
Congress MPs Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and others raise slogans during a protest over Delhi violence, at Parliament (Source: PTI)

Protests By Opposition Over Delhi Violence Rocks Indian Parliament

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Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress members pushed and shoved each other in Lok Sabha as Parliament was on Monday rocked by protests against the Narendra Modi government over the communal violence in Delhi.

Relentless opposition members, which included those from the Congress, DMK, the Left and the TMC, forced repeated adjournments in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha demanding the resignation of Home Minister Amit Shah.

The government managed to introduce a few bills in the two Houses amid the din but that was the only bit of listed transaction carried out as an aggressive opposition, whose sloganeering members were in Well, refused to return to their seats.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the central government "slept" when violence rocked Delhi for three days.

In Lok Sabha, a charge by Congress members Gaurav Gogoi and Ravneet Singh Bittu, who held a black banner seeking Shah's resignation, towards the treasury benches when BJP MP Sanjay Jaiswal was speaking sparked a melee as several members of the ruling party rushed forward.

Members of the two sides pushed and shoved each other and later lodged separate complaints with Speaker Om Birla acccusing the rival party MPs of misbehaviour.

Birla first adjourned the House till 3 p.m. before two more adjournments were announced.

The Speaker finally adjourned Lok Sabha till Tuesday after expressing his pain at the developments during the day.

"I am personally pained at the developments in the House. You are not pained. I do not want to run proceedings under such circumstances.... Everybody should deliberate to ensure that the dignity of the House is maintained."

He said senior members of the House should do their bit to ensure it runs smoothly.

Congress MPs Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and others raise slogans during a protest over Delhi violence, at Parliament (Source: PTI)
Congress MPs Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and others raise slogans during a protest over Delhi violence, at Parliament (Source: PTI)

Opposition members started raising slogans from the Well against the government as soon as the House met at 2 p.m. after suspension of its proceedings in the first half as a mark of respect for JD(U) member Baidyanath Prasad Mahto, who died on Feb. 28.

They went into the area of treasury benches carrying a black banner, which demanded Shah's resignation, as Speaker Om Birla took up the listed business.

Things took a turn for worse as Gogoi and Bittu went to the treasury benches where Jaiswal was speaking on 'Vivaad Se Vishwas' Bill.

Jaiswal was speaking from the fourth row, and the Congress members' charge deep into the area earmarked for the treasury benches resulted in several backbencher MPs of the ruling party rushing to the front.

A scuffle between the members ensued following which proceedings were adjourned till 3 p.m. by the Speaker.

Trinamool Congress leaders protest over Delhi violence (Source: PTI)
Trinamool Congress leaders protest over Delhi violence (Source: PTI)

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi were present in the House during the uproar.

When the House reassembled at 3 p.m., some BJP members were seen blocking the way to their side of the Well.

Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi condemned their "unruly behaviour" and asked the Speaker to continue with proceedings.

Joshi alleged that "these are the people" who have provoked the riots. "They murdered 3,000 people in 1984 (riots) and did no investigation. The priority is to restore peace... but they want to create tension," he said.

Seeking to restore normalcy in the House, Birla asked opposition members who were in the Well to take their seats even as they continued to shout "we want justice" and "Amit Shah Murdabad" (Down with Amit Shah).

Amid the din, two bills -- The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill and Mineral Laws Amendment Bill-- were introduced.

Also the Direct Tax Vivaad Se Vishwas Bill was moved for consideration and passing.

Trinamool Congress leaders protest over Delhi violence (Source: PTI)
Trinamool Congress leaders protest over Delhi violence (Source: PTI)

The Upper House was adjourned first till 2 p.m. and then for the day after opposition MPs, including those belonging to the Congress, AAP, Left, TMC, SP, BSP and DMK, remained on their feet shouting slogans and accusing the government of failing in its duty during the Delhi riots, which have killed more than 40 persons.

Deputy Chairman Harivansh, who was conducting proceedings in the afternoon, made repeated appeals to protesting members standing in the Well to return to their seats so that the House could function normally.

He also urged three members sporting black blindfolds to remove them, saying these were against the decorum of the House.

However, the members did not pay heed and the protests continued.

As the protests began, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said the issue was definitely important but the priority should be to restore normalcy and then discuss ways and means of preventing it.

When his appeals to members to resume their places went unheeded, he adjourned proceedings till 2 p.m.

Amid the sloganeering and protests, Minister for Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' introduced a bill which seeks to convert three deemed-to-be Sanskrit universities into Central Sanskrit Universities.

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