The government may have looked at the ongoing winter session of Parliament as an opportunity to pass the Goods and Services Tax Bill and other pieces of legislation, but it encountered yet another round of protests on Monday, with Opposition parties painting it as “anti-Dalit” and “anti-poor”.
The alleged chopping off of the arms and legs of two men at a farmhouse purportedly owned by a Shiromani Akali Dal leader led to protests by the Congress and other parties in the Rajya Sabha, with the House being repeatedly adjourned. The protests in the well of the House even drowned the statement of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Pakistan.
“The incident at the farmhouse of an Akali leader in Abohar… Bheem was a Dalit…the way Shivlal Doda called him to his farmhouse and chopped off his hands and legs, it is jungle raj,” Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
The JD(U) and All-India Trinamool Congress sought attention in Parliament to the demolition of a slum in Shakur Basti in the capital by the Railways, even as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited the locality.
JD(U) leader KC Tyagi told The Hindu : “Acres of vacant Railways’ land are to be given to corporate houses for commercial use. Shakur Basti is just the beginning.”
The BJP, on its part, read the protests as part of a script to disrupt Parliament and stall reforms.
Outside Parliament too, there were protests, with the Aam Aadmi Party and the Trinamool protesting the demolition, which reportedly claimed the life of an infant, days before the onset of Delhi’s cold wave. The protesters have been seeking to paint the Narendra Modi government as “anti-poor”.
On the Punjab incident, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi assured the House that the NDA government there was taking tough action on the “barbaric act”. The SAD said the accused wasn’t a party man and claimed that Punjab was known to have risen above the caste divide. The protests, however, continued, with Congress members dubbing the State government “anti-Dalit.”
The government could not even take up the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill later in the day amid the protests.