Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that there was no question of accepting mediation by a third party in the Kashmir dispute, NDTV reported.

“As S Jaishankar ji [external affairs minister] said Kashmir issue was not discussed in President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting,” Singh said. “There is no question of mediation in Kashmir issue as it will be against the Simla agreement.”

Singh’s remark came two days after United States President Donald Trump claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to intervene in the Kashmir conflict.

However, the Congress continued to protest in the Lok Sabha, demanding a reply from Modi, PTI reported. Later, Congress MPs, dissatisfied with Singh’s intervention, walked out of the Lower House.

Earlier in the session, Congress MPs were joined by some other Opposition legislators as they trooped into the Well of the House and and started sloganeering. They were heard demanding Prime Minister Modi to address the House. Despite the commotion, Speaker Om Prakash Birla went ahead with the Question Hour.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the prime minister was keeping quiet on the matter. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had already spoken to Parliament and clarified the matter.

Later, the Lok Sabha discussed the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019. The amendment proposes to allow the government to proscribe individuals as terrorists. Until now, the law allowed the government to proscribe terrorist organisations. The amendment also proposes to empower more officers of the National Investigation Agency to investigate cases.

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra opposed the Bill and said it sought to designate individuals as terrorists without due process, The Hindu reported. She described the bill as anti-federalism, anti-constitutional and anti-people.

She also said that each time her party opposes a bill, they run the risk of being labelled anti-national. She questioned the House why the Opposition is called anti-national every time they disagree with the government on matters of national security. She also claimed that the government unleashes its troll armies on those in the Opposition.

Rajya Sabha bids farewell to five members

Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday bid farewell to five members from Tamil Nadu, who completed their six-year terms – All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members T Rathinavel, V Maitreyan, KR Arjunan and R Lakshmanan, and Communist Party of India leader D Raja.

V Maitreyan broke down while giving his farewell speech. “At this juncture, I place on record a deep sense of gratitude towards my beloved leader, Amma [J Jayalalithaa] for having immense faith in me and sending me to this House for three terms,” he said. “She gave me the honour of being the only member from AIADMK to have been given membership to the Rajya Sabha for three terms. My unalloyed loyalty to her will always be there.”

The MP also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Finance Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Arun Jaitley for their guidance.

Upper House Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu appreciated the contribution of the members. “The House will miss their vivacious, aggressive and progressive action,” the Chair said, according to The Hindu.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad is scheduled to hold a meeting of Opposition MPs in the Upper House in Parliament office on Wednesday, ANI reported. Congress Parliamentary Party chief Sonia Gandhi held a meeting of party MPs in the Lok Sabha.