Updated: August 12, 2021 1:29:53 pm
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders held a march outside Parliament building on Thursday to protest the abrupt end to the Monsoon Session and alleged manhandling of their MPs in Rajya Sabha
“Today, we had to come out here to speak to you (media) as we (Opposition) are not allowed to speak in Parliament. This is a murder of democracy. Parliament session is over. As far as 60 per cent of the country is concerned, there was no Parliament session. Voice of 60 percent population was crushed, humiliated in Parliament,” Gandhi said.
Top leaders of several Opposition parties met in the chamber of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and then walked in protest from Parliament House to Vijay Chowk. Those who attended the meeting included Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Kharge, Sanjay Raut, Manoj Jha and other Opposition leaders.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut also condemned the alleged assault on women MPs in the Upper House. “The Opposition didn’t get a chance to present their views in Parliament. Yesterday’s incident against women MPs was against democracy. It felt like we were standing at the Pakistan border,” he said.
On Wednesday, several women Congress MPs alleged they were physically bullied by male marshals as they were protesting in the Well of the Rajya Sabha. Congress’s Chhaya Verma and Phulo Devi Netam alleged that male security personnel manhandled them and Netam fell in the melee.
NCP leader Sharad Pawar said that in his 55 years of being in Parliament, he had never seen women MPs being attacked in Rajya Sabha unlike on Wednesday. He alleged that more than 40 men and women marshalls and security staff were deployed in the Upper House, including some who were brought from outside. “It is painful. It is an attack on democracy,” Pawar alleged.
Congress Chief Whip in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh said the insurance amendment bill to privatise GIC was passed in RS with a large force of security personnel present. “The government refused to send it to a select committee… a demand by all Opposition parties including those close to the BJP. What happened this evening was worse than atrocious,” he said on Twitter. “Presiding officers in Parliament are supposed to be neutral umpires, not partisan players. They cannot present a totally one-sided picture of goings on in the House and further aggravate the situation. Misplaced emotion leads to commotion,” he also said.
Parliament was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, two days earlier to the schedule. Both Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla expressed anguish Wednesday over the washout, with Naidu briefly breaking down in the House.
Opposition protests over the Pegasus snooping row and the three contentious farm laws had continuously marred proceedings in both Houses of Parliament right from the start of the Monsoon session on July 19.
(With inputs from PTI)
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