Parliament disrupted over 1984 killings, caste census, farmers’ plight (Second Lead)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NEW DELHI - Ruckus by opposition MPs over various issues, including the plight of farmers in Madhya Pradesh, the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, caste census and phone tapping, led to disruptions in both houses of parliament Tuesday.

Opposition members sought to raise the killing of Sikhs in Rewari district of Haryana in the anti-Sikh riots in 1984. The issue surfaced after a Sikh organisation claimed to have dug out the details of the massacre.

Speaker Meira Kumar had to adjourn the Lok Sabha till noon.

A mob had allegedly wiped out a Sikh village Nov 2, 1984, three days after the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi, killing 32 people. The district administration has ordered preliminary inquiry into the incident.

Scenes in the Rajya Sabha were also noisy with MPs raising the issue.

As soon as the house met, opposition MPs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with those of ally Shiromani Akali Dal sought to raise the issue. Chairman Hamid Ansari asked the members to give a notice and raise the issue during zero hour.

The members, however, could not be pacified and the house was adjourned till 12 noon.

Members returned to the house at noon and so did the noise, but this time over a different issue.

The BJP members created uproar over the plight of farmers in Madhya Pradesh claiming that frost had damaged their crops.

Bhupinder Singh from the state raised the issue saying that the Madhya Pradesh government had already spent Rs.900 crore to help the farmers. He alleged that the central government was not providing them with any support despite repeated pleas from the BJP-led state government.

The BJP member demanded a statement from the government.

Deputy Speaker Karia Munda ruled it out saying it was zero hour and the government was not bound by rules to reply. Not satisfied, BJP members led by Gopinath Munde trooped to the speakers podium forcing the chair to adjourn the house till 2 p.m.

It was the third adjournment of the day.

Earlier, there was also a din in the Lok Sabha over the caste census, with members demanding that the government state when and how it was likely to start collecting the demographic data of Indians on the basis of their caste.

MPs protested near the speaker’s podium creating a ruckus and forcing the chair to adjourn the house and call off question hour.

When the house reassembled at 12 noon, Home Minister P. Chidambaram referred to a paragraph in Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement in which he had promised that the caste census would begin in June.

“The census on caste will begin in June and end in September. If any honourable member wishes to make suggestions on how to go about it, we will consider the suggestions,” Chidambaram said.

AIADMK MPs also protested over phone tapping ordered by the government.

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