Monsoon Session Day 4 Highlights: Parl adjourns, Jaitley takes on lynching issue
The Rajya Sabha continued discussion into the fourth day of the monsoon session of Parliament on Thursday and the debate in the Upper House largely focussed on the issue of H1-B visa, India-China border standoff and mob lynchings.
The Opposition led by Congress targeted the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, with former law minister Kapil Sibal denouncing the lynchings over cow slaughter as “grotesque violence”. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley responded saying that the government is fully committed to protecting Dalits and minorities.
While discussing the Sikkim standoff, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said that India wants China to move troops from the Doklam trijunction for the two countries to begin talks on the dispute.
Wednesday was mired in noisy scenes and repeated adjournments as the Opposition created an uproar over cattle-related lynchings and anti-Dalit attacks. In the Lok Sabha, however, discussion ran overtime a day before to discuss farmers’ issues as parliamentarians presented issues facing their states.
The monsoon session of parliament will continue till August 11.
6:30pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 11 am on July 21.
6:29 pm: MV Rajeev Gowda of the Congress asks the government to strengthen ant-discrimination in the Real Estate bill passed by the Rajya Sabha in March 2016.
6:27 pm: V Maitreyan of AIADMK asks the government to respond to the new fisheries bill passed by Sri Lanka targeting Indian fishermen and their livelihood.
6:15 pm: The law will certainly take its course. No sympathy will be shown to perpetrators of such incidents: Jaitley, adding that the government is fully committed to protecting Dalits and minorities.
6:10 pm: Ruckus in Parliament after Jaitley’s statement on Kerala violence.
6 pm: To kill a human in the name of cow is unequivocally condemned, but to provoke anyone -- at least in a place where cow slaughter is prohibited -- is equally condemnable. No body has the right to take law in their own hand. It doesn’t mean that in prohibited areas, cow slaughter should be encouraged or eulogised, says Jaitley, seemingly referring to beef fests held to protest lynchings.
“When Oomen Chandy was CM of Kerala, we (BJP) never said there were acts of violence in the state.”
5:55 pm: Jaitley recites Article 48 written by Dr Ambedkar on using scientific and modern methods for cattle slaughter.
Opposition responds, saying no party has raised objection to the laws prohibiting cow slaughter. Our issue is the crimes committed against minorities in the name of cow: Ghulam Nabi Azad
5:50 pm: Finance and defence minister Arun Jaitley speaks, says the issue of lynchings is “crucial” and to give it political colours won’t be fair. I don’t want to explain or rationalise it. The home minister and the PM have in the past spoken against gau rakshaks.
“Our sensitivity to the cow cannot justify any violence. Violence cannot be a partisan issue... We should remember that we are one of the world’s largest democracies. Our culture is to respect each other and tolerate each other -- called mutual respect of tolerance. We cannot insult any religion.”
In respect to each incident of violence, the home minister spoke to every CM of the state and kept a track of cases against them. All the perpetrators are in jails, they will be prosecuted and serve their punishments: Jaitley
5:45 pm: Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad accuses the MoS for home affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir is steering off the topic of lynchings and instead talking about budget allocation for betterment of minorities.
Ahir says the government is working for Dalits and all minorities.
5:40pm: RS chairman PJ Kurien announces the House had accepted Mayawati’s resignation.
5:35 pm: Maharashtra MP Ramdas Athawale recites a poem dedicated to crimes against Dalits, earning cheers from parliamentarians.
Athawale says Mayawati, who resigned from the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, should have been in the House to be the voice of the minorities.
5:15 pm: Pramod Tiwari of the INC asks who has given vigilantes the right to lynch, keeping up pressure on the BJP on the recent incidents of violence.
4:15 pm: The killers themselves claim they are supported by Hindutva groups, says TKS Elangovan (DMK).
4:10 pm: Congress’ Anand Sharma hits back at Chandrasekhar after he cites the example of the Karnataka cop who was transferred after she spoke about preferential treatment for AIADMK leader VK Sasikala at the state jail. Sharma says it is BJP’s double standard to speak about Karnataka when the a woman police officer was transferred in Uttar Pradesh for taking on BJP activists.
4:05 pm: Rajeev Chandrasekhar takes the stage, says they have to discuss provocations by the Congress and the Left when they slaughter a cow in the streets of Kerala.
Chandrasekhar calls it the Opposition’s “double standard”, questions why the Congress is silent when scores of political party leaders are hacked to death in Kannur, Kerala. There is “deafening silence” when an actress is molested in Kerala. Isn’t this stand of hypocrisy signalling that some violent crimes are okay and some are not. All crime should be un-politicised and dealt by law.
4 pm: Opposition members protest in the well of the House after Jha’s remarks.
3:45 pm: Will we blame the Himachal Pradesh government over the Shima rape case? Why was Opposition silent on Karnataka’s demand for a new flag? : Prabhat Jha turns the charge on Congress and the Left, touting the election victories by the BJP and claiming that the party will win in upcoming polls in Gujarat and Himachal.
A 16-year-old girl, who was missing since two days, was found dead near isolated woods at Halaila in Kotkhai, 65 km from Shimla. Reportedly, the girl was found naked, suspecting rape before murder.
3:40 pm: BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh, Prabhat Jha defends Opposition charge that BJP supports cow protection groups. “To say that the BJP government is not taking action against perpetrators of violence is not true.”
3:30 pm: Congress and TMC stage walkout from Rajya Sabha over the comments made by HRD minister Prakash Javadekar during a debate on lynchings.
3.04pm: You are dictating what to eat, how to eat. Then you’ll say why eat? says CPI’s Raja
3.02pm: Why are Dalits being massacred? Why are Muslims being attacked? asks Raja
3.01pm: How can these lumpen elements (those who are involved in lynchings) take law into their own hands? says Raja
3pm: We have to ensure empowerment for all: Raja
2.59pm: Dalits, women do not want sympathy or empathy from us. We have to ensure constitutional right to all our citizens: Raja
2.59pm: We are discussing lynchings after 70 years of independence. I feel ashamed, says Raja
2.58pm: We have collectively failed our fellow citizens: Raja
2.57pm: CPI’s D Raja speaking now
2.55pm: You are in government, do good things. Stop this drama over cows: Sharad Yadav
2.50pm: Freedom enjoyed only by the rich, it is not for poor or adivasi, says Sharad Yadav.
2:45 pm: Sharad Yadav criticises the government on its handling of the agrarian crisis, saying never before have so many farmers committed suicide, adding that demonetisation hit the agriculture industry. The JD(U) MP goes on to slam Centre for crimes against Dalits, giving the Una incident -- in which Dalits were thrashed -- and Rohit Vemula’s suicide as examples of caste discrimination.
2:35 pm: Training guns on BJP, Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav cites the examples of Junaid and Pehlu Khan while talking about the lynchings.
“There is nothing more ‘Talibani’ than a mob killing a person.”
JD(U) allied with Congress in the Uttar Pradesh election held earlier this year.
2:20 pm: “You (BJP leaders) say it isn’t related to BJP. These people are cow vigilantes. But these are your people. VHP has said it will equip gau rakshaks,” says Sibal
“2700 gau sena is operating in states. They are recruited by VHP and trained by the Bajrang Dal. But what is the Prime Minister doing. (Modi) Quoting Mahatma Gandhi is doublespeak... Your own people are doing this but the PM says these are ‘anti social’ people.”
“It has nothing to do with (cow) vigilantes. It is the PM. The Prime Minister is creating that kind of an environment (for lynchings, violence): Kapil Sibal amid uproar by BJP leaders.
The Congress leader’s closing statement: “This is an unofficial army of hooligans associated with an ideology which will disturb the peace and tranquillity of the country.”
2:15 pm: Continuing his tirade against the Centre, Kapil Sibal invokes Gandhi ji’ quote -- “‘I would not kill a human to protect a cow’”.
The cow is one of the most peaceful animals. Killing in the name of the cow is the death of humanity: Sibal
2:10pm: On mob lynchings, former law minister Kapil Sibal denounces the incidents calling them “grotesque violence”.
“We have to ask why these incidents are happening. Our own people are killing each other. Why? Everyone should ask oneself. Why is this happening after 2014?.”
So I looked at previous speeches by PM Modi, who said in 2012 that ‘cow meat is being exported and Indians are silent’, says Sibal, who goes on to invoke PM’s ‘kabristan-shamshaan’ remark made during UP election campaigning.
2pm: Rajya Sabha resumes. Naresh Gujral, MP from Akali Dal, talks about the significance of tolerance and the rise in incidents against ‘gundaism’ and violence. He urges the government to speaks to CMs and Chief Justice of India to punish perpetrators of such crimes (lynchings) and atrocities.
The issue of lynchings had resonated in the Upper House a day before when the Opposition alleged involvement of “some members” of BJP and Sangh Parivar in these incidents even as the government said communal colour should not be given to such violence.
1pm: Discussion steers to orphaned children and the number of cradles, introduced in states so parents can leave their babies in safe custody of the government instead of abandoning them.
Question Hour ends. Discussion will resume at 2 pm in Rajya Sabha.
12:35pm: SP leader Naresh Agarwal whose statement had sparked controversy a day before asks the government to explain reasons behind the Sikkim standoff between India and China.
The issue is due to the “tri-junction point that is between India, China and Bhutan”. This time, China brought more construction materials till the point where the unilateral status of the border ended, which is a concern for us. India wants that troops are removed from the tri-junction point to discuss the issue together. All countries, including Bhutan, are with us: Swaraj
“If China unilaterally changes status-quo of tri-junction point between China-India & Bhutan then it poses a challenge to our security.”
12:30pm: Congress’ Chattisgarh MP Chayya Sharma brings up the issue of Chinese presence on the South China Sea, which is allegedly impacting trade. Swaraj claims that although China is increasing its maritime presence, it is not enclosing India and New Delhi is alert about its security.
On the ‘One Belt One Road’ issue, the external affairs minister says India had opposed the CPEC’s inclusion in OBOR long before.
12:15 pm: Congress rakes up the issue of H1-B visa again, Anand Sharma says the previous US governments too have lauded Indians’ contribution to the country’s IT sector.
Swaraj will make a detailed statement on the issue.
12:10 pm: CPI leader D Raja questions the government on buying defence equipment from foreign countries. “Is this Make in US or Make in Israel and sold in India?”
Sushma Swaraj says the Modi government is the only government to open 100% FDI in defence sector. No other government has tried to move towards self-reliance.
12:05 pm: Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 11am tomorrow amid protest over agrarian crisis.
12pm: AIADMK’s V Maitreyan asks the government to elaborate if US President Donald Trump and PM Narendra Modi spoke about the H1-B visa issue.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj responds, saying PM Modi convinced Trump that Indian professionals are contributing to the US economy, although the word ‘H1B visa’ wasn’t used (in the joint statement).
The H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa category for temporary workers. An employer must offer a job and apply for your H-1B visa petition with the US Immigration Department.
11:55 am: Congress’ Anand Sharma raises the issue of Indian IT professionals in the US. “Almost 50% of H1-B visas have been of the Indian IT workers. They (Indians) have contributed to the industry... We had expected that when the Prime Minister visited US, this issue would be taken up. There was no mention of the issue. I request the government of India to be sensitive to the Indian IT professionals’ issues.”
11:50 am: Biju Janata Dal MP Dilip Kumar Tirkey appeals for a special package for Odisha after flood-related damage.
11:30 am: Lok Sabha adjourned till noon