Women MPs accuse marshals of pushing them around in Rajya Sabha
Chhaya Verma, a Congress member of Rajya Sabha, has accused male marshals of pushing women members of the Opposition around in the House on Wednesday.
“The female marshals were stopping us (from protesting). When we asked them to move away, the male marshals came forward and pushed us. One of my colleagues fell on the floor.”
Phulo Devi Netam, Verma’s party colleague, echoed her and said the government deployed the marshals in three layers. “The male marshals started pushing the female lawmakers. Do not they know how to respect the female parliamentarians?” she asked.
Another lawmaker said everything is on record and called for an inquiry.
Shortly before the Upper House was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, Opposition lawmakers staged a walkout following a ruckus. They objected to the presence of security personnel during the passage of the Insurance (Amendment) Bill. The Opposition has been objecting to the passage of key Bills without discussion and putting them to vote.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said there were more marshals than members in Rajya Sabha. He also alleged the marshals manhandled some of the women MPs and said women were not safe even within Parliament.
The monsoon session of Parliament came to a premature end on Wednesday when it was adjourned ahead of schedule. Protests by the Opposition and repeated disruptions marred the session.
Prahalad Joshi, parliamentary affairs ministers, called the claims of women lawmakers “bogus” and a “blatant lie”. “Nothing like this has happened. All the CCTV cameras should be checked. In fact (they) manhandled the male marshals. They grabbed these male marshals by their necks. They were especially from TMC (Trinamool Congress). ...together pushed the female marshals,” he said. He added they have demanded that a committee should be constituted to inquire into the matter.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar condemned the alleged attack on women lawmakers. “In my 55 years of parliamentary career, I have never seen the way the women MPs were attacked... More than 40 men and women were brought into the House from outside. It is painful. It is an attack on democracy.”
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said there was a fine discussion on the constitutional amendment bill empowering states to draw their own list of other backward classes. “Then there was a bill regarding insurance regulation… Though a copy of the bill was already circulated among the members, the way the (Opposition while protesting) unleashed violence on the security personnel and marshals…. shatters democratic principles. This makes one thing clear that Congress and its partners have lost their ethics.”
He said this happened when ministers Joshi and Piyush Goyal were repeatedly telling the Opposition that government is ready for a debate.