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Uproar in Lok Sabha over Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra’s remarks

Treasury benches vehemently opposed Moitra’s speech, saying a person of high authority could not be discussed like this without a prior notice and approval of the chair.

Mahua Moitra

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra caused an uproar in Lok Sabha on Monday as she raised the issue of a “former CJI”.

Treasury benches vehemently opposed Moitra’s speech, saying a person of high authority could not be discussed like this without a prior notice and approval of the chair.

As the Treasury demanded her remarks to be expunged, RSP member N K Premachandran, who was in the Chair, said they will be expunged if found objectionable.

In her speech during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, Moitra lashed out at the government for making “hate and bigotry” a part of its narrative and alleged that the judiciary and the media have also “failed” the country.

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At this, Union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal and BJP MP Nishikant Duebey got up and objected to a former CJI being discussed in the House without a motion for the same being adopted. Meghwal termed Moitra’s comments against the former CJI “shameful”.

TMC’s Saugat Roy said Moitra had not named anyone and that the former CJI having retired could not be called “high authority”.

Finally, Premachandran allowed Moitra to finish her speech but asked her not to mention the former CJI and issues associated with him again.

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Moitra said the government was presenting its cowardice as courage to the country. “People are facing police harassment simply for asking questions of this government or for voicing an opinion on the state of affairs in this country. Today I speak of cowardice and courage and the difference between the two. Cowards who hide behind the false bravado of authority, of power, of hate, of bigotry, of untruths and dare to call it courage. After all this, government has turned propaganda and misinformation into a cottage industry, whose biggest success is recasting of cowardice as courage,” she said.

Moitra said the government had “shown courage” in bringing a law that determines on arbitrary parameters on who is or isn’t an Indian. She raised the issue of why the government was notifying the rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act which she said had thrown “into abyss of insecurity millions of Indians”.

The Trinamool member also said the government had turned Indian democracy into a police state whereby on the basis of a single dubious complaint “an eminent member of this House and a veteran journalist are charged with sedition”. She mocked government’s dealing of farmers’ protests as “courage” and said it established government’s motto of “brutality over morality”.

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“The courage to use the official channels of the Ministry of External Affairs to respond to social media posts by an 18-year-old climate activist and an American pop star. When even not a single ministry has been deputed by the government to look for food, water and basic sanitation needs of the families that are camping at the borders of Delhi for almost 90 days. And the courage to bring in three farm laws when the entire Opposition and farmers across the country as well as the government’s oldest ally warned it was unacceptable. These laws were arrived at without consensus, tabled without scrutiny and rammed down this nation’s throat with brute force of the treasury benches. They have firmly established this government’s motto of brutality over morality,” she said, demanding the three laws be repealed.

During the discussion, DMK’s T R Baalu accused the government of transgressing on state’s powers and also demanded that Tamil be made an official language. Tamil enjoys this status in countries such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore, he said. He accused the government of undermining the language and noted that none of the Kendriya Vidyalayas in Tamil Nadu teaches it. “Don’t play with flames,” he said.

Baalu asked the government to address the concerns of the farmers’ unions protesting against the three farm laws, and said it should not stand on “false prestige and ego”.

Shiv Sena’s Prataprao Jadhav said, “No solid step has been taken to better the lives of farmers. We have been asking for a separate budget for agriculture. But the three farm laws were passed through brute majority in the House. Our farmers are protesting for the past three months. So many have died but no one is listening to them. Why is government being stubborn in not repealing the laws?”

First published on: 09-02-2021 at 02:47:02 am
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