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MoS for home affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir outrightly rejected charges by SP member Naresh Agrawal that BJP men were behind such lynchings. Photo: PTI
MoS for home affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir outrightly rejected charges by SP member Naresh Agrawal that BJP men were behind such lynchings. Photo: PTI

Opposition in Rajya Sabha targets govt over cow vigilantism, farmer protests

SP members came into the well and raised slogans expressing dissatisfaction over the govt's reply to questions regarding the steps taken by the centre to stop such lynchings

New Delhi: A third straight day of disruptions marked proceedings in both houses of Parliament on Wednesday with the opposition trying to corner the government over killings by the so-called cow vigilantes, and agrarian distress.

The Rajya Sabha held a discussion on “rising incidents of lynching and atrocities on minorities and Dalits across the country," a day after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati resigned from the upper house after being stopped from making an impromptu speech on recent violence against Dalits in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Listing the incidents of lynching across the country, Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, alleged that the government was hand-in-glove with the attackers. “Instances of lynching took place earlier as well...The Opposition thinks the government is hand-in-glove with these miscreants. If there is no understanding (between the two), how is it that no one gets caught?" he said.

Countering the opposition’s claim, minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi asked the opposition to not give a religious colour to the issue.

“We will not let the agenda of development be dominated by any destructive agenda," he said.

Dissatisfied with the steps taken by the centre to stop lynching by cow vigilantes, Samajwadi Party (SP) members came to the centre of the Rajya Sabha and raised slogans against the government after it said that states have all the powers to deal with such incidents and that there was no need to change the existing law.

Further disruption was caused in the house after SP lawmaker Naresh Agrawal made a controversial remark against Hindu gods, which led to two adjournments before he expressed regret.

Meanwhile, the deputy chair of the Rajya Sabha requested Dalit leader Mayawati to take back her resignation. “It is the decision of the House that we request Mayawati to take her resignation back," he said.

Even though the Rajya Sabha speaker, vice-president Hamid Ansari, is yet to accept her resignation, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad extended his support to her and offered to send the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister to the upper house from Bihar.

The Lok Sabha saw opposition parties raise the issue of farm distress. “There is an agrarian crisis. The agriculture sector is devastated. The number of farmers committing suicide have been rising by the day. Their loans should be waived and the government should fulfil its promise of paying them 50% more than their input costs," said leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.

The lower house passed the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Bill, 2017, which declares the 15 Indian Institutes of Information Technology established through public-private partnership as institutions of national importance.

PTI contributed to the story.

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