Proceedings in Parliament were disrupted on Tuesday as both Houses were adjourned till noon when Opposition members vociferously demanded a probe into alleged massacre of Sikhs in Rewari district of Haryana during the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, and into the alleged tapping of telephones of AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa.
As soon as the Lok Sabha assembled for the day, members of the Akali Dal rushed into the well of the House demanding an inquiry into the “massacre.”
Members of the Samajwadi Party (SP) raised slogans demanding a caste-based census, while Shiv Sena members were seen waving placards and demanding new trains in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar first adjourned question hour till 11.15 a.m. and then till noon. When the House reconvened, she allowed the leaders of some parties to make their points.
Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj raised the grievances of the Akali Dal, saying they were demanding an inquiry into the “massacre,” which had come to light only recently.
Thambi Durai's demand
AIADMK member M. Thambi Durai demanded a statement from Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on the alleged tapping of Ms. Jayalalithaa's telephones.
SP chief Mulayam Singh raised the issue of conducting a caste-based census, saying enumerators who visited him did not seek details of caste.
Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav said enumeration of caste alone would not serve any purpose. The census should include indicators of the social, educational and economic status of various castes. He was supported by Janata Dal (Secular) chief H.D. Deve Gowda.
BJP leader Gopinath Munde regretted that after 1931, there was no caste-based census.
Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad said such an exercise would help understand the actual status of various castes, their financial conditions and also identify the creamy layer.
T.R. Baalu (DMK) said that historically, Indian society had been identified by different castes. He felt the government would not be averse to such a census.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Basudeb Acharia said the census should reflect the socio-economic and educational backwardness of various sections of society.
The Bahujan Samaj Party's Dara Singh Chauhan said justice would be done only when these vulnerable sections were extended all facilities in accordance with their strength.
Sudip Bandopadhyay (Trinamool Congress), Bhratruhari Mahtab (Biju Janata Dal), Nama Nageshwar Rao (Telugu Desam Party), Sanjeev Naik (Nationalist Congress Party) and Mr. Thambi Durai also supported the move.
Responding to their demand, Leader of the House and Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, “Whatever ingredients you want to include in the format [of the caste-based census], finalise it and give to us. We will look into all those aspects.”
Mr. Chidambaram said the government had got a sense of the House and that all the suggestions would be carefully considered and an appropriate decision taken. The decision to have a caste-based census was taken earlier and was part of Mr. Mukherjee's budget speech.
In the Rajya Sabha, question hour could not take place as BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal members forced an adjournment of the House by protesting the “massacre” killing of Sikhs in Rewari.