Even though the government was ready for a discussion on Manipur, the opposition disrupted Parliament proceedings and did now allow the debate to take place, the BJP charged on Thursday as it questioned the timing of the surfacing of a May 4 video of two women being paraded naked in the northeastern state.
The BJP said that a discussion on the situation in Manipur would have sent out a ”meaningful and positive” message to the people of the violence-hit state but the opposition parties did not let it happen because they felt that incidents of ”misbehavior” with women in Congress-ruled states as well as the violence during the West Bengal panchayat elections may also come up.
The BJP’s charge came after both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned for the day on the first day of Monsoon session amid slogan shouting and demands for a discussion on the situation in strife-torn Manipur.
Even outside Parliament, opposition parties, including the Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Samajwadi Party, slammed the BJP government at the Centre over the ethnic violence in Manipur and the purported video of two women being paraded naked in the northeastern state on May 4, a day after ethnic violence erupted in the northeastern state.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament complex, Union minister and Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal said, ”The Congress and the rest of the opposition parties disrupted the House proceedings even though the government made it clear that it is ready for discussion.” ”It became clear from the attitude of the opposition that they came, making up their mind, that they will not allow the House to function,” he charged.
”They are worried because there were incidents of violence (during panchayat polls) in Bengal. Misbehaviour with women is happening in Congress-ruled states. Perhaps, they are running away from a discussion due to this,” he added.
Goyal said the government is ready for a discussion on Manipur.
”But it is unfortunate that Congress, TMC and the rest of the opposition parties are running away from it to perhaps hide themselves. They do not want to hold any discussion,” he added.
When Rajya Sabha was in session, Goyal said, the government had no objections and was ready for a discussion.
As the Rajya Sabha chairman allowed the notices for a short-duration discussion on Manipur, Congress president and Leader of Opposition in the House Mallikarjun Kharge raised objections and said all the business of the House be suspended first and their notices for a discussion on Manipur under Rule 267 be taken up.
Rule 267 of the Upper House of Parliament pertains to suspension of rules.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters, ”Many of the opposition’s members had given notice for short-duration discussion under Rule 176. They had thought that we would not agree. We agreed for discussions. Then, they found another excuse to stall proceedings.” ”This is their attitude,” he said, hitting out at the opposition parties.
Goyal alleged that the Congress and its ”friends” also disrupted the business advisory committee meeting. This makes it clear that they want to stall proceedings ”from today itself”, he charged.
Senior BJP leader and former law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was “painful” to see that when Goyal in Rajya Sabha and Joshi in Lok Sabha clearly stated that the government is ready for a discussion on Manipur, the Congress and other opposition parties started arguing over the clauses (rules) under which discussion should take place.
”So for you the incident that happened there is not important, but the clauses,” Prasad said, hitting out at the opposition.
Prasad said the party ”condemns” the incident in which two women were paraded naked in the state and asserted that strict action is being taken by the state government in the case.
He, however, said the surfacing of the incident’s video on social media just a day ahead of Parliament’s Monsoon session is ”surrounded by a lot of mystery”.
”There is a question that comes to my mind about mysterious circumstances. Today, we are in July. How come a May first week incident came up on Twitter a day before the Parliament session to begin. This raises many questions when circumstances are filled with suspicion,” Prasad told a press conference.
When a particular incident is ”surrounded by a lot of mystery and suspicious circumstances about the timing part, you can draw your own conclusion”, he said.
”Once again, I say the incident is very wrong. We all condemn it. Strict action is being taken and more (action) will be taken,” the BJP leader said and added that ”Chief Minister N Biren Singh is taking action and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed a lot of concern”.
Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said it is unfortunate that the opposition is looking at the Manipur incident through “a political lens and wants to politicise it”.
”We have said we are ready for debate, but the opposition is running away from debate,” he charged.
Thakur also referred to incidents of crime against women in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, and said Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi should also speak on them.
”Will Sonia Gandhi and the opposition remain a mute witness to such incidents in other states and shed tears only for one state (Manipur)? How can you discriminate between states when it comes to incidents of crime against women? he asked, adding, ”You are treating women as a political tool.”
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)