Opposition says outsiders thrashed women MPs in Parliament; government denies
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday led the Opposition's protest against the manhandling of MPs, including women, in Parliament. Gandhi, along with leaders of 15 other Opposition parties, marched from Parliament to Vijay Chowk, intensifying protest against the Centre for its "authoritarian attitude and undemocratic actions" during the Monsoon Session. The government, however, countered the Opposition's claims, accusing the latter of fomenting chaos.
Outsiders thrashed Opposition MPs in Parliament: Gandhi
Gandhi told reporters, "We had to come out here to speak to you as we are not allowed to speak in Parliament. This is the murder of democracy." Referring to the Opposition, he said the voice of 60% of the country is "crushed." He said, "This is the first time that MPs have been attacked in Parliament. Outsiders were brought in who thrashed MPs."
Opposition called on Rajya Sabha Chair Venkaiah Naidu
After the protest, the Opposition called on Rajya Sabha Chairperson Venkaiah Naidu to complain about Wednesday's unruly scenes. In a joint statement, the Opposition said, "Without any provocation...outsiders, who were not part of Parliament security, were brought in to manhandle Opposition leaders and members, including women MPs, who were only protesting the government's conduct, high-handedness, and muzzling of their voice."
What happened in Parliament on Wednesday?
The Opposition had stalled the proceedings during the Monsoon Session, demanding discussions on contentious subjects including the Pegasus controversy. The situation worsened on Wednesday when the Insurance Amendment Bill was taken up in the Rajya Sabha. Calling the amendment a "sell-off," several women MPs stormed into the Well of the House to protest. The MPs alleged they were physically bullied by marshals while protesting.
What happened was worse than atrocious: Congress' Chief Whip
Congress' Chief Whip Jairam Ramesh alleged the amendment was passed after deploying a large security force inside the hall. "The government refused to send it to a select committee...a demand by...Opposition parties including those close to the BJP. What happened (then) was worse than atrocious."
'Never seen attack on women colleagues in 55-year career'
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said it felt like he was standing at the Pakistan border and not Parliament. "Opposition didn't get a chance to present their views in Parliament. Yesterday's incident against women MPs was against democracy." NCP chief Sharad Pawar also slammed the government, saying he had never seen his women colleagues being attacked in Parliament in his 55-year-long career.
Government termed allegations 'false'; demands action against unruly MPs
Separately, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi termed the allegations as "totally false" and demanded stringent action against the unruly Opposition lawmakers. On manhandling of Opposition MPs, Joshi said one can check the CCTV footage to ascertain the facts. He also alleged that the Opposition lawmakers manhandled marshals. Union Minister Piyush Goyal urged Rajya Sabha Chairperson to form a special committee to investigate the incident.
Parliament Monsoon Session curtailed by two days
The Parliament's Monsoon Session met an abrupt end on Wednesday after it was curtailed by two days. It was supposed to end on Friday. The session was marred by repeated disruptions due to continuous protests by the Opposition, primarily over the Pegasus surveillance scandal.