Rajya Sabha disrupted for second day over Gaza conflict

New Delhi: The Gaza situation rocked Rajya Sabha for the second consecutive day today with a determined opposition demanding an immediate discussion even as Chairman Hamid Ansari said the matter can be taken up at a later date while rejecting the government's plea against a debate.

Giving his ruling on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's request made yesterday, Ansari said, "I am unable to accede to the request of the Minister" and cited rules in favour of the notices given by the opposition in this regard.

Swaraj had opposed any debate on the issue arguing it is not admissible as it is not primarily concern of Government of India and any discourteous remark could affect India's relations with Israel and Palestine.

"I do not find any infirmity in the notices given by the Leader of the Opposition and others," Ansari said, referring to the demand by the opposition for a debate.

In another ruling, he accepted the plea of Leader of the House Arun Jaitley that the issue not be taken up for discussion today saying the government would communicate an appropriate date for the same.

 Rajya Sabha disrupted for second day over Gaza conflict

Representational image. PTI

"Accordingly, in view of the provisions of rule 177 read with the communication received from the leader of the House, the short duration discussion on Palestine has not been listed in today's agenda paper," Ansari said.

Citing rules, he said, the "the subject having been already admitted, now requires consultations with the Leader of the House to fix the next date and time for discussion."

Not finding the issue listed in today's business of the House, infuriated opposition members were up on their feet, in the aisles vociferously demanding that the important issue be taken up today itself. Questioning the Chairman's ruling, opposition members said he had no authority to change the agenda and an item listed yesterday had to be taken up first today.

The Upper House saw three adjournments in the pre-lunch session - two during Question Hour and one in Zero hour.

The House witnessed uproarious scenes during Zero Hour after V Maitreyan (AIADMK) said that while the opposition members was agitated over the killing of citizens in a distant land, but not concerned over the killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Sri Lanka.

"I strongly condemn the killing of innocent civilians anywhere in the world, whether it is Palestine or Sri Lanka. I and my party are anguished that while they (opposition) are so concerned about the killing of citizens at a distant place, they are not concerned about killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen in neighbouring Sri Lanka," he said.

Irked by his remarks, opposition members including those of Congress and Left parties were on their feet and entered the aisles while Maitreyan received support from treasury benches.

Protesting members demanded that the "aspersions" cast by Maitreyan be expunged.

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien sought to pacify the agitated members saying he will check the records and will expunge remarks if they have cast any direct or indirect aspersion  against any member.

As uproar continued, Kurien adjourned the House till 2 PM. Leading the opposition attack, Congress accused the government of "disrespecting" and "diluting" institutions one after another and said that now they were trying to do so with Parliament.

"The question is not what topic is to be discussed and when. The question is that whether the Executive can over-rule the rights of the Legislature. In such a short span of time, this government has disrespected one institution after another in the country. After Judiciary, they are now trying to disrespect Parliament. We will now allow it," Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Cong) said.

PTI

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Updated Date: Jul 17, 2014 16:41:35 IST