- The circular on dharnas comes amid opposition outrage over the "gag order"
- The new circular has sparked criticism from the Opposition
- Monsoon session of Parliament will begin on July 18
Demonstrations, dharnas, fasts or religious ceremonies can no longer be held in the precincts of Parliament House, a new circular by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat states. The circular on dharnas comes amid opposition outrage over the "gag order" on using certain words in Parliament, and has sparked criticism from the opposition Congress.
A day earlier, the circular on the usage of some terms in Parliament drew flak from the Opposition which insisted that every expression used by them to describe how the BJP was destroying India has now been declared unparliamentary. However, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla made it clear on Thursday that no word has been banned from use in Parliament but will be expunged on contextual basis. Members are free to express their views while maintaining decorum of the House, he had said.
Congress general secretary and chief whip of the party in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter to attack the government. "Vishguru's latest salvo — D(h)arna Mana Hai!," he said, sharing a copy of the circular issued on July 14.
The new bulletin, which has been issued by Rajya Sabha Secretary General P C Mody ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament beginning July 18, said the kind cooperation of members is solicited.
"Members cannot use the precincts of the Parliament House for any demonstration, dharna, strike, fast, or for the purpose of performing any religious ceremony," the bulletin said.
Opposition members have in the past demonstrated inside the Parliament complex and have also staged protests and fasts outside Mahatma Gandhi's statue inside the complex.