From the church attack in Chhattisgarh to spiralling prices of medicines, “false” media reports of rapes at Murthal to the Satluj-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal — MPs made the most of Zero Hour in Lok Sabha Wednesday.
Congress’s K C Venugopal raised the issue of the church attack on the outskirts of Raipur, alleging that such incidents were happening repeatedly because “statements by ministers and MPs are provoking people” and they were “pouring poison into the minds of people and religion”.
Venugopal, who has given an adjournment motion over the incident, quoted reports in The Indian Express. “This incident is not a lone incident. For the last six months, five incidents of this type, of attacking churches, have been reported in the state,” he said amid protests from treasury benches. Kamla Patle, BJP MP from Janjgir-Chamba in Chhattisgarh, said the government had taken immediate steps and arrested the culprits.
N K Premachandran of RSP raised the issue of spiralling prices of life-saving medicines. He said the move to remove customs duty on 76 drugs and removal of 50 drugs from the purview of the price controlling authority caused a steep rise in prices. The RSP also cited reports that the government had given a “secret” assurance to US pharmaceutical firms to revoke compulsory licences which prevent Indian companies from manufacturing and selling generic versions of drugs whose patent is with American firms. He was referring to The Indian Express report ‘Compulsory licensing: India gave ‘private reassurance’, says US business council’.
The media also came under fire in the House. Dushyant Chautala (INLD) asked the government to take suo motu cognisance of reports carried by some newspapers and TV channels on alleged rapes at Murthal during the recent Jat agitation in Haryana. “There should be stringent action against whoever has given such reports,” he said, alleging that the reports had charged the atmosphere in the state further.
Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav’s grievance was against the way social media was trying to divert national discourse by giving a slant.
He said it was a matter of serious concern, as seen in the Murthal case, suicide of PhD scholar Rohith Vemula and incidents in JNU.
Congress and SAD MPs from Punjab, meanwhile, warned the Centre that if it does not handle the issue of the Satluj-Yamuna-Link (SYL) canal carefully, there would be trouble in the state. “Please don’t set Punjab on fire,” Ravneet Singh Bittu (Congress) said, adding that the NDA government should keep in mind the interest of farmers. Prem Singh Chandumajra (SAD) sought an “impartial” attitude from the Centre. “Please apply riparian laws and then decide,” he said.
The issue was raised by AAP’s Bhagwant Mann, who wanted the Speaker’s intervention as, he said, both the NDA and UPA had engaged in politics over the issue.