Lok Sabha to debate lynchings, but no let-up in Congress protests

The Congress accused the “government of sleeping,” which hit back, demanding an apology from the Opposition for targeting the Speaker while disrupting the House earlier this week. Congress members later trooped into the Well, raising slogans and carrying placards even as the Speaker carried on with the proceedings.

Written by Avishek Dastidar | New Delhi | Published:July 28, 2017 12:45 am
mob lynching, congress, bjp, lok sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, Sumitra Mahajan,  Ananth Kumar, sonia gandhi, Business Advisory Committee  Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. PTI

Even though the Business Advisory Committee finally agreed to hold a Lok Sabha discussion on “mob lynchings” on Monday (July 31), the Opposition and the government were engaged in a fierce verbal duel in the House on Thursday morning.

The Congress accused the “government of sleeping,” which hit back, demanding an apology from the Opposition for targeting the Speaker while disrupting the House earlier this week.

Speaking before Zero Hour, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the party had given a notice for the discussion and debate on the issue on June 5 and that the government had been resisting it since then. “If it could not be taken under Rule 193, it could have been taken under rules 56 and 57 or under an adjournment motion. But the government is sleeping,” Kharge told Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to which the BJP benches erupted in protest. Seeking an immediate debate, he said his party would not raise the issue of the suspension of six of its members if the House took up the lynching issue for discussion.

Mohammad Salim of the CPM wondered if the concept of adjournment notice should be removed from the rule book, leading to a brief uproar. “If an adjournment notice is not accepted on such an issue (lynching), then what is the point of having it,” he asked, claiming that over 50 people have been killed in mob violence. “If we can’t raise it in Parliament then what are we doing here?”

Mahajan said Salim could not challenge the Speaker as she noted that she only disallowed the notices for suspending the Question Hour but never denied a discussion on the issue. “I have always been willing to allow a debate,” she said.

Sudip Bandyopadhyay (Trinamool Congress) also supported the demand for a discussion on lynchings, saying it was the most important issue. “Let’s start a discussion,” he said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, while pointing out that the government had always been ready to discuss any issue but the subject of farmers’ crisis had to be taken up first, said, the six Congress MPs who were suspended by Speaker earlier this week, had committed violence against the Speaker. “You should apologise to the Speaker. What you people have done, by throwing paper balls at the Speaker, would also be considered as violence, had you done it outside the House,” he said.

Congress members later trooped into the Well, raising slogans and carrying placards even as the Speaker carried on with the proceedings.

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