The Congress denied on Wednesday Rahul Gandhi was sleeping during a Lok Sabha debate over attacks on Dalits after visuals of the party vice-president with his eyes shut were beamed by television news channels.
The Congress attacked the Narendra Modi-led government over a spate of violent protests that spread from Una following the assault on Dalit men on July 11 for allegedly skinning a cow. The party has announced Gandhi will visit Una on Thursday.
“(He) wasn’t sleeping. Can anyone sleep through that ruckus? We (MPs) just close our eyes for relief (after coming from the sharp sun outside),” Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury said.
Television channels showed Gandhi resting his forehead on his palm and his eyes shut, while his fellow MPs protested during a statement being made by home minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament.
Chowdhury said the media should report bigger issues in the country.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi earlier condemned the “atrocities” against Dalits and minorities in the country and said her party will raise in Parliament the issue of a Dalit committing suicide in Una.
Addressing the Congress parliamentary party meeting, Sonia Gandhi said: “The Modi government has snatched away the rights of Adivasis, Dalits and traditional forest dwellers under the Forest Rights Act and is systematically weakening and subverting environment rights.”