Opposition parties raked up the issues of mob lynching and continuing suicides by farmers as they sought to corner the government on the third day of the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament. Opposition parties raised these issues in both the Houses forcing adjournment of the proceedings briefly. Opposition MPs also raised the issues of Indian hostages in Mosul and the Indian-China border standoff in Sikkim.
In the Rajya Sabha, opposition members strongly raised the issue of agrarian crisis in the country, saying farmers were being forced to do distress sale of crops in the face of cheaper zero-duty imports. Several members gave notices under rule 267 that allows adjournment of the proceedings to take up a discussion on an issue.
Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said a discussion on the matter has been accepted and the members can raise their points during the debate.
Raising the issue, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) claimed that 15-20 farmers were committing suicide every day. He said pulses production has been raised by 33 per cent but the government has lowered the import duty on it to zero, resulting in cheaper shipments into the country. Farmers, he said, are being forced to make distress sale.
Digvijaya Singh of Congress said that the farmers were getting ‘bullets instead of price’. Kurien said besides Yadav, Pramod Tiwari (Congress), Naresh Agarwal (SP), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), Kapil Sibal (Congress) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) had given notice under 267 on the issue. A discussion on the subject has been admitted and the members can raise their points then, he said.
Ali Anwar Ansari (JD-U) through a Zero Hour mention raised the issue of manual scavenging saying this practice was continuing even after the government has declared it illegal. Four workers, he said, died in the national capital due to toxic gases while cleaning a septic tank.
"All four are dalits," he said, adding over 2,500 dalits have lost their lives in last two-and-half-years due to this practice but no cases have been registered or compensation paid. While the government on the one hand talks of going to Mars, on the other it provides no equipment or apparatus for such cleaning activities, he said, adding that ‘our sensitivities are dead’.
On the other hand, NCP's Majeed Menon raised issue of mob lynching. Other members joined him and raised slogans 'killing in the name of cow protection won’t be allowed'. “What is the status of the cases after FIR registration? What have you done for the victims?” Menon asked.
MoS Home Hansraj Ahir, who was present in the Upper House, said, “PM Narendra Modi stated cow vigilantes shouldn’t take law in their hands. Dragging BJP into this not right.”
In the Lok Sabha, a united opposition today forced the adjournment of the proceedings for nearly an hour by storming the Well and raising slogans slamming the government for allegedly ignoring the well-being of farmers. As soon as the question hour was taken up, opposition members raised the issue of farmers.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar reminded the opposition that a discussion on the issue of farmers is listed in today's agenda. He said the government was ready for a debate and would answer all the questions raised by members. "Do not interrupt the House. Let us debate," he said. But the opposition members, including those from the Left and the RJD, continued raising the issue from the Well.
Most of the Congress members, who were also in the Well, raised slogans such as "Mann ki Baat band karo, karza maafi shuru karo (stop talking on radio programme, implement loan waiver)" and "stop shooting farmers".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House. An apparently peeved Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the opposition was not interested in the House to run and adjourned the House for 50 minutes till noon.
With PTI Inputs