Several parliamentarians in Lok Sabha on Friday condemned Samajwadi Party member Azam Khan for the objectionable remarks he had made to BJP member Rama Devi who was in the Chair presiding over the session yesterday.
When the lower House took up Zero Hour proceedings, BJP member Sanghmitra Maurya demanded an apology from Mr. Khan for his conduct on Thursday.
During Thursday’s debate on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019 better known as Triple Talaq Bill, Mr. Khan recited a poem with objectionable words aimed at Ms. Devi, who was in the Chair. She ordered expunging them and sought an apology. In a bid to clarify, Mr. Khan said: “You are my sister. I have had a long political career, it is not possible for me to say anything bad. If there is a single unparliamentary word in what I said, then I declare my resignation from Parliament.” The Samajwadi Party walked out after a war of words broke out between them and BJP members. The Speaker had noted that maintaining the dignity of the House is the responsibility of all members.
Calling it a shame for all the legislators, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said had the incident taken place outside the House, it would have involved the police. “You cannot misbehave with a woman and get away with it,” she said.
More women members — cutting across party lines — including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Anupriya Patel, Supriya Sule and Navnit Rana — joined the issue. Trinamool Congress member Nusrat Jahan said, “as a first-time member I do not wish to learn these kinds of acts.” Condemning the incident, DMK’s Kanimozhi pitched for the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury reminded the House that Sonia Gandhi was also a victim of sexist comments in the House, to which members from the Treasury Bench objected and accused him of politicising the issue. Also condemning the incident was AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi. He sought to know the progress of the GoM on sexual harassment at the workplace, which was formed after former junior External Affairs Minister M.J. Akbar was accused of sexual assault.
BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab suggested the Speaker examine earlier precedence and explore ways to address it. Trinamool Congress member Kalyan Banerjee said since it is a matter of privilege, the Speaker should take a decision on the issue. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi too agreed.
Speaker Om Birla said, "I will hold meeting with leaders of all parties and then take a decision soon."