Stormy scenes in parliament over CBI ‘misuse’, Orissa violence


New Delhi : Parliament Tuesday witnessed stormy scenes and walkouts by the Left parties and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) over the anti-Christian violence and a CBI threat to a BSP MP on eve of the July 22 trust vote, even as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Babubhai Katara was expelled for his involvement in a case of alleged human trafficking.

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The attacks on north Indians in Maharashtra created a din in both houses of parliament on the second consecutive day of the session that began Oct 17.

The Lok Sabha was twice adjourned during the day. The first adjournment followed chaos as soon as it assembled in the morning as Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MPs protested the attacks in Mumbai by activists of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and DMK MPs protest over the “military assault” on Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka.

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was forced to adjourn the House for the second time in the day, till 2 p.m., after BSP member Brajesh Pathak alleged that he had been threatened by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official at the behest of the UPA government on the eve of the July 22 trust vote.

Pathak demanded a probe into his allegation, which the speaker refused to entertain. The BSP leader then wanted the matter to be forwarded to the Privileges Committee of parliament.

MPs belonging to the BSP and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) staged a walkout over the house’s alleged inability to protect its members’ privileges and the anti-Christian violence in Orissa.

When the house re-assembled after lunch, CPI-M leader Basudev Acharya wanted a discussion the anti-Christian violence in Orissa but Chatterjee refused.

CPI-M leaders wanted to move two adjournment motions – on the Orissa violence and the alleged negligence of Kerala by the central government. When this was denied, they staged a walkout.

Another issue in the limelight was the alleged complicity of BJP MP Katara in a human trafficking case.

The speaker expelled Katara after the house adopted a resolution on the issue. A Lok Sabha panel had Monday recommended his removal for “grave misconduct.”

Katara represented the Dohad (ST) seat in Gujarat. He was arrested at the Delhi International Airport 2007 for allegedly trying to take a woman and boy by presenting them as his wife and son to Canada with a view to facilitate their illegal migration.

Moving the resolution, the leader of the house, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, asserted that Katara had “committed an act of grave misconduct which has brought disrepute to and maligned the image of the entire fraternity of legislators.”

In the Rajya Sabha, the attacks on Hindi-speaking north Indians in Maharashtra continued to exercise MPs. However, Home Minister Shivraj Patil rejected charges of inaction and asserted that the central government had issued three advisories to the state government on this issue and underlined that such incidents should not be repeated anywhere in the country.

“We have issued three advisories to the state government,” Patil said in response to concerns raised during zero hour over the recent wave of attacks.

“We have expressed our anguish and anger and I have also personally talked to the chief minister on the issue,” he said.

“Anyone from any part of the country can work and live anywhere. No one can stop them. What has happened, should not happen in Maharashtra or anywhere. That is as it should be,” he stressed.

Unmoved by Patil’s assurances, the opposition staged a walkout, after which Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan adjourned the house for an hour.