Monsoon Session of Parliament, Day 3: Opposition rakes up farmers' crisis, cow vigilantism

Proceedings in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were disrupted multiple times on Wednesday, after MPs protested the agrarian crisis, cow vigilantism and Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal's comments linking Hindu gods with brands of alcohol.

A slugfest also emerged between BJP and Congress over a dossier prepared by the research department of the All-India Congress Committee. It was leaked on Wednesday morning and lists several issues to corner the government during the ongoing Monsoon Session. The 'key issues to raise in Parliament' section puts "mob violence and lynching — from Akhlaq to Junaid" top-most on the agenda. The Congress did raise the lynching issue extensively on Wednesday. However, proceedings began with the agrarian distress.

Farmers' crisis

Lok Sabha was adjourned almost immediately after beginning the day, after the Opposition created a ruckus over the farmers' crisis. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi later said in Rajasthan that they wanted to speak in the Lok Sabha about problems that farmers in the country are facing but were not allowed.

In the Upper House, JDU leader Sharad Pawar raised the farmers issue and said that the government has failed to get farmers the right price for their produce. While Congress' Digvijay Singh said farmers were getting "bullets instead of price", most of his party members in the Well kept chanting, "Mann ki baat band karo, karza maafi shuru karo (stop talking on radio programme, implement loan waiver)."

Cow vigilantism

Another major issue that reverbearted in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday was the issue of killings in the name of cow protection. The Opposition created a lot of noise after government said the states have all the powers to deal with such incidents and there was no need to change the existing law.

Samajwadi Party members came into the Well and raised slogans expressing dissatisfaction over the government's reply to questions regarding the steps taken by the Centre to stop such lynchings. This led to brief adjournment of the House.

 Monsoon Session of Parliament, Day 3: Opposition rakes up farmers crisis, cow vigilantism

Representational image. PTI

Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said 24 states and five Union territories in the country have banned cow slaughter, with only Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland, and the Union Territory of Lakshwadeep still to impose such a ban.

The minister said the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain separate data for cases of lynchings, as only cases related to communal and religious tensions are recorded.

"For the first time, NCRB has started recording lynching incidents since 2014. In 2014, more such cases happened in states like Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, while in 2015 there were more incidents in states of Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged in the Rajya Sabha that those attacking Dalits and minorities were getting protection from the ruling BJP. "The cases of mob lynching in the name of protecting cows have gone up across the country in the last three years. Those involved in lynchings are getting protection from the ruling party people," Azad said.

The BJP in turn accused the Congress of conspiring to disrupt Parliament during the Monsoon Session by giving issues a "communal colour". "Rather than focusing on the more relevant issue of national security, the Congress has given priority on raising incidents of lynching by the mob and cow vigilantism, by giving them communal colour," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

Naresh Agarwal's statement

Soon after Agarwal stood up to speak on the issue of lynching in the Upper House, the House members started protesting against his controversial remark linking Hindu gods to brands of alcohol. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley demanded an apology from Agarwal for saying names of some Hindu deities linked to some types of alcohol were written on the wall of the school.

Pointing towards the treasury bench, Agarwal said these lines were written by "your people". Deputy chairman PJ Kurien said Agarwal should not have made these remarks which "per se are derogatory" and should withdraw them. Agarwal agreed and withdrew his statement. However, BJP members in the Rajya Sabha refused to budge and started sloganeering. The House was adjourned following the disruption.

Meanwhile, in the Lok Sabha, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav raised the Sikkim border row and said that China is preparing to attack India. He said the Chinese government is conspiring with Pakistan to attack New Delhi. He also asked the government to inform Parliament what it has done to meet any likely challenge from the neighbouring country. "India is facing a big danger from China. I have been cautioning the central government for years. China has joined hands with Pakistan. It has made full preparation to attack India," he said.

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Updated Date: Jul 19, 2017 19:38:44 IST