Both House of Parliament were adjourned on the first day of the Monsoon Session on Thursday as the Opposition demanded the Centre to address the Manipur unrest issue.
The Opposition leaders criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state and the Centre to curb ethnic violence in the northeastern state that has killed over 140 persons and displaced 60,000 people since May 3. The coalition of 26 Opposition parties, INDIA, had demanded that a discussion should be held on the issue after Modi’s address in Parliament.
The demand to address the issue also came a day after a video shared on social media showed two women from the Kuki tribe being paraded naked and sexually assaulted by a mob. The video from May 4 came to light amidst an internet shutdown in the state since May 3.
On Wednesday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi said that the government was open to a discussion on Manipur in both Houses of Parliament, reported PTI. He said that Deputy leader in Lok Sabha Rajnath Singh has also given a similar assurance.
Before the session began on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had broken his silence on the Manipur unrest and told reporters outside Parliament that no culprit in the case will be spared.
However, Congress president and Rajya Sabha leader Mallikarjun Kharge questioned why Modi was not addressing Parliament and giving statements outside.
“He has visited foreign countries France, Egypt but Manipur is not on his mind,” Kharge said reported The Indian Express. “He could have visited Manipur. At least held a meeting and appealed for peace and consoled them. Women are being raped in Manipur, women are being beaten up on the roads. Their houses are being looted. Women are being gangraped. All this is happening but Modi is not bothered.”
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien also demanded Modi to address the House on the situation in Manipur and asked Speaker Jagdeep Dhankar to suspend all other discussions under Rule 267 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook.
Rule 267 is invoked by members when they want to suspend day’s business to debate an issue. The House was adjourned till 2 pm soon after O’Brien demanded Modi’s presence in the House in a heated speech.
When the members of Rajya Sabha met after 2 pm, Kharge said that he has been demanding a discussion on the Manipur issue since morning but has not been allowed despite giving notice in advance, reported PTI.
Dhankhar asked Opposition members to maintain order in the House as they shouted “Manipur”, “Manipur” after which he adjourned the House for the day. In a similar development, the Lok Sabha was also adjourned for the day after Opposition demanded discussion on Manipur and shouted “Manipur is burning”, reported PTI.
Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh said that the first day of monsoon session was “washed out” because the Modi government did not agree to INDIA’s demand for an immediate discussion on situation in Manipur following a statement by him inside Parliament.
“The PM deemed it more appropriate to give a desh ke naam sandesh [message to the country] via the media OUTSIDE Parliament before the two Houses met,” Ramesh said in a tweet. “This sandesh [message] itself was completely silent on how and why a humanitarian tragedy was allowed by the so-called double engine sarkar which has all-but-destroyed the delicate social fabric of Manipur.”