India Politics
Gujarat killings stall parliament proceedings
May 8, 2007 - 2:21:29 PM

New Delhi, May 8 - The killings of a Muslim man and his wife in cold blood by the police in Gujarat again disrupted both houses of Indian parliament Tuesday after the opposition insisted on a discussion.

With presiding officers of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha turning down the request, and the Bharatiya Janata Party - also joining the din, no business was conducted for several hours.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned twice, first until noon and then till 2 p.m., when it broke up for lunch. The Rajya Sabha had to suspend business until 1 p.m.

Tuesday's scenes were similar to what happened Monday.

After the Lok Sabha met Tuesday, Ramjilal Suman of the Samajwadi Party sought the speaker's permission to speak on the Gujarat killings. Mohammed Salim of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Madhusudan Mistry of the Congress backed the demand.

When Speaker Somnath Chatterjee disallowed the MPs and insisted on taking up question hour, the Samajwadi Party MPS ran towards his chair. Unable to control the chaos, the speaker first adjourned the house till noon.

But when the house met again, proceedings were again disrupted, forcing the speaker to adjourn the house till 2 p.m.

While the Lok Sabha was adjourned during question hour, the Rajya Sabha's question hour - presided over by chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat - proceeded smoothly.

But once question hour ended, the treasury benches and BJP members were both on their feet, out-shouting each other.

While the Congress, supported by Left, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party MPs, demanded an immediate discussion, BJP members - led by S.S. Alhuwalia - protested that they would not be dictated to.

Shekhawat asked opposition leader Jaswant Singh to make his statement. But treasury members stood up to protest, demanding a discussion on Gujarat first.

Shekhawat reminded the treasury members that the decision to allow Singh to speak was taken earlier. 'At the 10.30 - meeting, it was decided that the leader of the opposition would be given a chance to speak.

'If you want to set a precedent - when the leader of the opposition will not be given a chance to speak - then that is a very wrong precedent,' he said.

BJP's Sushma Swaraj was heard addressing the treasury members: 'You won't allow us to speak? It is our right to speak.'

Some members from the government side sought Shekhawat' assurance that a discussion on the Gujarat killings would take place soon.

Amid the din, the chairman finally adjourned the house till 1 p.m.

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