New Delhi, Dec 21: The government today apologized for the “unfortunate” manhandling of a BSP MP by the Prime Minister;s SPG commandos inside the Parliament premises after opposition members raised a furore over the issue.
The BSP member Rama Shankar Rajbhar was shoved and manhandled by SPG men when he went to attend the Hiren Mookerjee Lecture by the Prime Minister inside the Parliament premises.
Soon after, SP and BSP members raised uproar over the issue and demanded action against the guilty commandos.
The issue was raised by BSP leader in House Dara Singh Chauhan during Zero Hour. He said his party colleague Rama Shankar Rajbhar was allegedly manhandled by the SPG personnel in Parliament and demanded action against those responsible.
“In the name of providing security to the Prime Minister, Members of Parliament are being insulted day in and day out. It is an insult to this august House,” Chauhan said while demanding a thorough probe into the matter.
The BSP members were joined by those of Samajwadi Party in rushing into the Well and creating uproar.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi was seen talking to the agitated BSP members and senior Ministers P K Bansal and Harish Rawat urging them to return to their seats. In view of the din, Deputy Speaker Kariya Munda adjourned the House till 2 PM.
When the Lok Sabha re-assembled, Finance Minister and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee said that since Chauhan had expressed concern about “unfortunate” incident, “I sincerely apologise on behalf of the government.”
He said it was not the question of individual MP but if an MP was insulted in Parliament precinct, “it is not at all desirable.”
Chauhan intervened, questioning the necessity of SPG's presence in Parliament complex for protection of the Prime Minister when there was adequate security for every other MP.
“I agree with you (Chauhan) that in the precincts of Parliament, everybody is equal, all members are equal. There are no two opinions about it,” Mukherjee said.
“Nobody is higher, nobody is lower. I am extremely sorry,” he said, adding the Prime Minister himself had told him to “apologise on behalf of the government”.
“To ensure that such incidents don't happen in future, some institutional arrangement can be made. Let this matter be settled,” the Finance Minister said.
Francisco Sardinha, who was in the Chair, said since the Leader of the House had apologised, the matter should end and normal functioning resumed.
SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav refused to allow the matter to settle and linked it to the Lokpal Bill cleared by the Union Cabinet last night.
He warned the government that the proposed legislation would give “all powers” to the police.
“Lokpal will not be in your hands. It will go to the hands of police. They will not respect us (MPs). Superintendents of Police and District Magistrates will send us to jail,” he said.
“Think over it,” Yadav told the government. RJD chief Lalu Prasad joined Yadav, saying that he had not raised any insignificant issue.
“Today, it is the SPG, tomorrow it will be the police,” he said, linking the issue to Lokpal.
He wanted to know what happened to the suggestions given by them at the all-party meeting and whether these had been incorporated in the Lokpal Bill.
PTI adds: BSP MP Ramashankar Rajbhar, who was allegedly manhandled by Special Protection Group personnel in Parliament today, claimed he was trying to locate his missing mobile phone when a security official shoved and abused him.
“My mobile phone had fallen somewhere...so in an attempt to retrace my phone I was making calls at the number from the lobby. Suddenly, a SPG official appeared and he snatched the phone from which I was making the call from my hands,” Rajbhar told reporters.
“Then that person pushed me and also used abusive language. Then I saw that the Prime Minister was approaching and I stood at one side,” Rajbhar said.
“We can tolerate hunger but we can't tolerate insults,” the Lok Sabha MP from Salempur in Uttar Pradesh, said.