As Parliament proceedings remained stalled for the second day after the Budget session recess, the government on Tuesday reached out to the Opposition, saying it was ready for a discussion on the communal violence in Delhi in both Houses on March 11, the day after Holi. This did not satisfy the Opposition which insisted that the discussion be held Wednesday. Talks between the two sides, sources said, are continuing to end the deadlock.
As soon as Rajya Sabha was adjourned in the morning, Union Commerce and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and MoS Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan met Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma.
Azad and Sharma made it clear that the Opposition will not back down from its demand for a discussion. The talks continued in the afternoon and then the government signalled that it was ready for a discussion.
In Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla announced that the discussion would take place on March 11. But the Opposition members were not satisfied and they stormed the Well of the House, demanding an immediate discussion. In Rajya Sabha, Azad said it would appear strange if Parliament did not discuss the incidents of violence in Delhi when the whole world was talking about it.
“We have told the government that it is not about attacking each other… Whatever happened was very painful… This is such an issue on which we should not be fighting… instead we should have a discussion, so that such incidents do not recur,” Azad said when the House reconvened at 3 pm after two adjournments. He said the issue will become a “non-issue” and “non-event” after 10-12 days. He said Opposition members would act responsibly and not fuel tensions.
Leader of the House Thawar Chand Gehlot said the government was ready for a discussion at a timing ascertained by the Chairman (M Venkaiah Naidu). Sharma said since the Leader of the House and the Leader of Opposition are of the same view, a discussion should be scheduled for 11 am Wednesday. BJP’s Bhupendra Choubey said the Chair should not be forced to hold the discussion at a particular time and the decision should be left to the Chair’s discretion. Deputy Chairman Harivansh said the timing of the discussion could only be decided after consulting Chairman Naidu.
In Lok Sabha, which witnessed unruly scenes Monday, the Speaker warned members that they would be suspended for the entire session if they cross over to each other’s side.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury walked over to the side of the Well facing the treasury benches which led to a commotion. Other Opposition members followed Chowdhury and BJP members blocked their way. BJP MP from West Bengal Locket Chatterjee had a heated argument with Chowdhury, and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tried to pacify them. Amid the din in which BJP and Congress members tried to shove each other and some members banged the door leading to the Secretary General’s desk, Birla adjourned the House for the day.
120 FIRs filed, hundreds arrested, Parliament told
New Delhi: The Delhi Police has registered 120 FIRs and arrested hundreds of people in connection with the Delhi riots, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told Lok Sabha on Tuesday. It said a close watch is being kept on social media platforms to check rumours and propaganda. The Delhi Police has taken several steps to control the law and order situation in the national capital, Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said in Lok Sabha in a written reply. Police officers along with adequate force, including 76 companies (7,600 personnel) of the Central Armed Police Forces, were deployed at vulnerable points, he said. “More than 120 FIRs have been lodged and hundreds of miscreants have been arrested,” Rai said. —ENS
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