The eleventh day of the Monsoon Session of the Parliament saw charges and countercharges flying in the Lok Sabha over the issue of lynchings, with the Congress saying 'Hindustan' should not be allowed to become "lynchistan" and the government accusing the Opposition of enacting a "drama" in the name of secularism to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Responding to a debate in Lok Sabha under rule 193 which lasted for around six hours and saw heated exchanges between the treasury and Opposition benches, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju urged members to condemn mob violence while asking the states to act tough.
The minister also accused the Opposition was trying to gain political mileage over the killings across the country blamed on cow vigilantes. Not satisfied with his response, the Congress, Left, Samajwadi Party and AIMIM members walked out.
Initiating the discussion, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge commented that "Hindustan" should not be allowed to become "lynchistan". The ruling party, however, maintained that "certain demons" have put on a "holy garb" to defame the government, likening it to an episode in the Ramayana, and asserted that the responsibility of containing mob violence is that of the state governments.
Countering Kharge's onslaught against the government, BJP leader Hukumdev Narayan Yadav said, "Some people are indulging in terror (atankvadi) activities to defame the government."
During his speech, the MP from Madhubani in Bihar extensively quoted Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and said that the BJP ideologue had stated that "Muslims in India are descendants of Hindus". He said every Muslim must respect Hindu sentiment and at the same time, Hindus must respect the Muslims.
While evoking a discussion on nationalism, Yadav said freedom fighters like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan had sung the poem Vande Mataram but there is an environment now in which singing it is considered a crime.
Targeting the Opposition, the BJP MP drew the attention of the House towards the 1984 anti-Sikh riots after the assassination of Indira Gandhi and raised the issue of killing of RSS workers in Left-ruled Kerala.
Sougata Roy of Trinamool Congress brought up figures on mob violence in the name of cow protection and demanded a separate law — "Manav Suraksha Kanoon" (human protection law) — to deal with incidents of lynching, arguing that the Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Penal Code do not define lynching.
"The government keeps saying it wants Congress-free India, I want to ask, do you want to make a Muslim-free India as well," Roy said, provoking protests from BJP members.
Meanwhile, BJD leader Tathagata Satpathy highlighted the economical impacts of lynching on the rural economy, informing the House about how farmers are not able to sell old cattle because buyers are not coming to villages out of fear. "By lynching movement... you will eventually kill Hindu farmers," Satpathy said.
The BJD leader suggested that each MP should take care of two pairs of bullocks, and take note of how he tells farmers in his constituency to take their cows and bullocks to the houses of BJP workers.
Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on another hand equated national level discrimination on various grounds of religion, caste, language and region to people's attitude towards women in their families. The atrocities committed against women, especially against wives in families, should be stopped, he said.
In a lighter vein, the veteran leader wondered how many of the Parliamentarians are suppressing their wives, eliciting laughter from the members present in the House.
The Lok Sabha also introduced few key bills on Monday. Finance minister Arun Jaitley introduced in the Lok Sabha the Punjab Municipal Corporation Law (Extension to Chandigarh) Amendment Bill, 2017 that will replace an ordinance which was brought urgently for the timely execution of the GST law in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
Union minister Rao Inderjit Singh also introduced the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Amendment Bill, 2017, to enable"smooth, speedy and time-bound" eviction of overstaying Members of Parliament, dignitaries and bureaucrats from their official premises.
In Rajya Sabha, the session was briefly adjourned after Congress created a ruckus over the alleged kidnapping of its MLAs by police in Gujarat. Opposition Congress on Monday forced a brief adjournment of proceedings in Rajya Sabha alleging that the Gujarat police was kidnapping and threatening its MLAs in the state in order to influence their votes in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.
Congress members trooped into the Well of the House raising anti-government slogans, which were matched by counter-sloganeering by BJP. Amid the pandemonium, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien adjourned the proceedings for 10 minutes during the Zero Hour soon after it met in the morning.
The Rajya Sabha discussed on a variety of topics ranging from air pollution to minority commission. However, the debate on minority commission bill's amendment got prolonged triggering a bit of ruckus where the two sides failed to reach a conclusion. The government suffered an embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha when it could not ensure passage of the bill to confer constitutional status on the Backward Classes Commission with the opposition succeeding in amending an important provision.
The house took up the Constitution (123rd Amendment) Bill, 2017, which was earlier passed by the Lok Sabha. But after day-long discussion, Congress members Digvijaya Singh, BK Hariprasad and Hussain Dalwai moved an amendment to clause 3 of the bill seeking to provide for the appointment of all the five members of the commission from the OBC community, including a woman and a person from the minority community.
This was objected to by the government's side. Leader of the House Arun Jaitley said that what the Congress members were seeking could be looked into at the time of framing of rules under the law.
When the amended Clause 3 of the bill was put to vote, the BJP members voted against it. The result of the division was 69 ayes and 50 noes. A Constitution amendment bill can be passed only with the majority of the house present and two-thirds of those present voting in its favour.
Finally, the bill without Clause 3 that seeks to insert Article 330 8B was passed.
After the fiasco for the government, both the sides traded charges. Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Congress will have to regret this "moment" against backward classes for centuries to come.
However, Azad accused the government of being insincere and failing to do its homework.
With inputs from agencies
Published Date: Aug 01, 2017 08:00 am | Updated Date: Aug 01, 2017 08:00 am