The Lok Sabha was adjourned on Friday after the ruling coalition members protested against a reported remark by opposition leader George Fernandes derogatory of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Raising the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said Fernandes was quoted as saying in an English daily that "if it were China, they would have settled it with one bullet in his (Manmohan Singh's) head" - over the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Dasmunsi said Fernandes - who was seated in the front bench of the opposition side - should apologise or the House should condemn his statement.
As the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) members and the Left were on their feet shouting at Fernandes, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said: "The prime minister is entitled to respect as he is the highest dignitary, but I cannot force anybody to apologise."
Dasmushi insisted that Fernandes should apologise. But Fernandes remained unmoved. The speaker remarked: "His silence is seen. Let the country decide."
But UPA and Left MPs continued their protest and the Speaker adjourned the house till 1.45 pm.