Monday, May 20, 2024

Protest on Manipur issue disrupts Parliament proceedings; both Houses adjourn till 2 pm

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Both houses of the Parliament were adjourned till 2 pm on Thursday amid protests from the Opposition over the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur.

Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned after opposition members, several of them dressed in black, continued with their protests. As soon as the House met for the day and Speaker Om Birla started Question Hour, some opposition MPs trooped into the Well of the House shouting slogans and holding placards.

The MPs wore black clothes as a mark of protest for not allowing a discussion on Manipur and Prime Minister Narendra Modi not making a statement in both Houses on the violence-racked northeastern state.

A visibly peeved Speaker reminded the protesting members that it was not appropriate for them to shout slogans and display placards, saying it is against the decorum of the House. “We have been elected and sent here by people to discuss their issues,” he said and urged the members to have good discussions. The whole country is watching and there is a good tradition in the House, Birla said, adding that he will give time to discuss the issues.

Most of the opposition MPs wore black shirts, kurtas or jackets while those who did not were helped by other protesting MPs in tying black bands around their arms to protest against Manipur violence, an issue on which the House has witnessed repeated adjournments since the start of the Monsoon Session on July 20.

When Union minister Nitin Gadkari was replying to a question from the front row of the treasury bench, some protesting members displayed the placards standing near him. Only one question was taken up during the Question Hour and as the din continued, Birla adjourned the proceedings within seven minutes. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi wanted to address the House but the Speaker adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm.

On Wednesday, Birla admitted a no-confidence motion moved by Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi against the Narendra Modi government, setting the stage for a showdown between the Opposition and treasury benches over Manipur and other issues.

Uproarious scenes at Rajya Sabha

Meanwhile, proceedings in the upper House were adjourned for the second time till 2 pm amid continuous sloganeering by members of both treasury benches and the opposition.

Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, who was allowed by the chair to raise questions on the statement made by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the latest developments in India’s foreign policy, could not speak in the House due to the uproar.

Soon after the House met at 12 noon, after an initial adjournment, Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar allowed Kharge to speak but treasury benches started raising slogans. The opposition members also countered them and raised slogans, which led to pandemonium in the House.

Slogans like “kaale kapde, kaala kaam, nahin sahega Hindustan” were heard in the House when the Leader of Opposition rose to speak. The reference was towards the opposition members who were wearing black clothes as a mark of protest for not allowing them to raise the Manipur issue in the House.

After his appeals for order in the House failed, the chairman adjourned the proceedings till 2 pm.

The Rajya Sabha proceedings were earlier adjourned briefly as opposition members raised slogans during Jaishankar’s statement and when the Leader of the House spoke on the statement.

As the sloganeering continued, Kharge said, “I have not seen a ruling party obstructing an opposition leader. The government itself is obstructing…”

The Chairman said he expected the opposition to raise the issue on the External Affairs minister’s statement after he allowed so by relaxing rule 251.

“You did not listen to the Foreign minister, who was listing out the historical achievements of the country,” Dhankhar said, while pleading with the members to maintain order and then adjourned the House.

Earlier, Jaishankar made a statement on the latest developments related to India’s foreign policy, during which the opposition members started raising slogans.

At one point, the treasury benches started shouting “Modi, Modi. “To counter them, the opposition members shouted “INDIA, INDIA.”

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