Parliament proceedings |

Centre rules out separate law against lynchings

Finance Minister and Leader of the House Arun Jaitley speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017. Photo: RSTV  

The fourth day of the Monsoon Session saw a quick adjournment of the Lok Sabha, While the Rajya Sabha continued its discussion on reported incidents of lynching and atrocities against minorities and Dalits across the country.

Live updates:

6.30 pm: After the customary and often rushed special mentions, the House is adjourned.

6.16 pm: Treasury wants to take up debate on a bill, Opposition disagrees and Chair calls for special mentions.

6.07 pm: Jaitley goes on. “If you want to know what happened before 2014 — you have chosen a very eminent person as a V-P candidate. Please read Mr. Gopal Krishna Gandhi’s notes when he was Governor.”

 

Anand Sharma says as you admit he's eminent, then withdraw your candidate amid peels of laughter. A Left member tells Mr. Jaitley to go into the details of Mr. Gandhi’s reports.

Mr. Jaitley after reiterating his arguments on action against such incidents, says there are provisions in the present law itself to take such action.  His implication that no separate anti-lynching law is needed comes when a member wanted special provisions or specials powers to officers who probe the incidents.

Dissatisfied with Mr. Jaitley's response, BSP walks out.


5.59 pm: Mr. Jaitley
continues. Says the person who makes a pro-beef statement  in front of the camera is making equally damage as that of those who kill people in trains.  “When we get into selective morality, we get into trouble.” 

Poses a question to Left members: “Why is it violence goes up whenever Left Front comes to power in Kerala. We didn't see such violence when Congress-led UDF is in power.”

Loud protests from Left members.

5.55 pm: Mr. Azad intervenes saying, “We never wanted to take away cow slaughter. But we condemn the killings in the name of cows.”

5.45 pm: Leader of the House Arun Jaitley called to speak. He says nation won't be done justice if the serious issue such as lynchings is dealt in political terms.  Violence can never be a partisan issue and no rationalisation of violence cannot be done too, he says.  “There are no ifs and buts when it comes to taking action against vigilante violence,” the Minister says. 

Mr. Jaitley quotes from Article 48 — points out it's written by B. R. Ambedkar — on anti-cow slaughter sections and this issue made into the State list. "Then there was not a State where BJP was in power. It was during Nehru’s rule.”

5.26 pm: Anand Sharma once again raises the issue of lack of Home Ministry’s representation.  Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, MoS Home rises to reply.  He says lynching is no small crime. Reels out numbers of programmes by the govt. for Dalit welfare.

 

Interrupted by the Congress’ Anand Sharma saying the discussion is deviating from the subject. Mr. Ahir vehemently defends his speech saying he has the right to quote about schemes. 

Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, MoS Home, speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017. Photo: RSTV

Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, MoS Home, speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017. Photo: RSTV  

 

Congress wants to know if he's replying to discussion or someone else will do as “he was not giving reply related to the discussion”. Mr. Azad says,“We’re not discussing the budget. This is totally out of subject.”

Minister says while talking about minorities and Dalits he should also talk about pro-minority and pro-dalit schemes too.

“This govt. is neither anti-Dalit, nor working against the minorities.”

5.25 pm: Chair announces that the Chairman Hamid Ansari has accepted Ms. Mayawati’s resignation from the House. 

5.21 pm: Ramdas Athawale of RPI (A), the governing side’s favourite weapon to demolish the Oppn. claims on Dalit atrocities, speaks. Treasury side is lapping up his speech. Without indulging in blame game both sides should find solution. As he concludes, he suggest the BSP there's no use in remaining in the middle and they should come with the BJP.

 

5.12 pm: Firebrand U.P. Congress leader Pramod Tiwari rises to speak. “It's unfortunate that a regime which came in the name of Ram Rajya can only be called Ravan Rajya... lynchings are happening for Mission 2019 (Lok Sabha elections),” he says. 

“If you continue lynching, people will lynch you from power,” he says.

Congress member Pramod Tiwari speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017. Photo: RSTV

Congress member Pramod Tiwari speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017. Photo: RSTV  

 

He claims that a U.P. Cabinet Minister is involved in violence and dares the govt. to disprove it and vows to resign if done so.

5.07 pm: V. Vijaysai Reddy of the YSRCP demands that IPC should be amended to include a legal definition of lynching.  In many cases victims have been made accused and it demands reform in police force.

V. Vijaysai Reddy of the YSR Congress speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017.

V. Vijaysai Reddy of the YSR Congress speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017.  

 

5 pm: K.K. Ragesh of the CPI(M) launches a frontal attack on the BJP. He accuses the party of non-participation in the freedom movement and resorting to other ways to build up the mass base. Taking the example of a killing of a Kerala madrassa teacher, he says Parivar sympathisers does it with an intent of dividing the society.  Minister Nirmala Sitaraman is raising her voice to oppse Mr. Ragesh’s speech.

4.44 pm: Ali Anwar Ansari of JD(U) begins with a shair: dua dete ho jeene ke, dawa dete ho marne ke (You give prayers for long life, but give medicine for death). He says it's the govt. side which talks about acting against (cow vigilantes) at the same time supporting and helping them spread. 

Mr. Ansari talks about history of Mewat region and Hasan Khan Mewati, the Muslim ruler of Mewat who took on Babur's forces. Apparently Hasan Khan seems to be the favourite Muslim ruler of the Sangh Parivar if we do a quick search The Hindu reports on him.

On Chair reminding him to conclude, a spirited Mr. Ansari says I have just started and I come from the field, and not after reading some paper reports.

4.33 pm: Amar Shankar Sable of the BJP begins by asking for debates of deaths of jawans too. Tries to contrast Mr. Modi’s condemnation of cow vigilantes to that of Rajiv Gandhi’s “when a big tree falls...” remark. 

“You said Indira is India. Now it's become Modi is Mahanayak India.”

He also quotes Mahatma Gandhi in defence of gau raksha. Also peppers his speech with Mahmud of Ghazni and Babur.

“Like U.P. govt. took action against cow vigilantes, I also expect action from West Bengal government,” he says. Also claims anti-Dalit activities rose 30% during Mayawati’s rule.

To blacken the face of BJP leaders is to blacken the face of the Sun, he says as he concludes.

4.24 pm: Ms. Selja continues. Talks about the Una incident. “What would you call those who eat dead animal's meat due to poverty,” she asks. “The govt. is talking about action after the incidents, but my question is why these incidents are happening at all... Only because of you the mob mentality has risen its head.” 

 

Why these gau rakshaks and cow lovers can't take care of cows which are dying instead of targeting the cattle transporters, she asks.  “With shame I’m saying about the incident in my place Hisar. A mob... people from some of your sister concerns... like Bajran Dal came and killed a Muslim guy. What action would you take.”

The government’s denial mode is not going to help the country. And you cannot become a Hindu by speaking good Hindi, but by becoming a Hindu in heart, Ms. Selja says and concludes.

Breaking News comes in: Ram Nath Kovind has been elected President of India after winning two thirds of the votes polled.

4.17 pm: Kumari Selja of the Congress speaks. Begins by saying our 5,000-year-old nation Hindustan has now come to known also as Lynchistan. The former Minister says you have reduced funds for SC/ST schemes and are talking about Dalit progress. 

Kumari Selja of the Congress speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017.

Kumari Selja of the Congress speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017.  

 

4.10 pm: T.K.S. Elangovan of the DMK speaks. The BJP tried to dilute the issue by taking all group clashes and violence. Murderers themselves claimed to have the support of Hindutva groups, he says adding that they claimed to have done the acts to protect Hindutva. Mob lynchings will increase if BJP rule spreads to more States., he says.

 

“NITI Aayog has recommended privatisation of PSUs. And my question is whether NITI Aayog has recommended privatisation of the police force,” he asks in conclusion.

4.07 pm: Anand Sharma intervenes saying Mr. Chandrasekhar should also talk about the transfers of GOI and U.P. govt.  if he talks about double standards. He says he can't accept the derogatory words against a Congress govt.

4 pm: Rajiv Chandrasekhar, Independent, raises to speak. Using violence is wrong even to settle issues like the “sensitive” cow slaughter. Sensitivity of the Hindu community is as important as any other community. Beef melas and slaughter of cows in streets of Kerala are provocation, he says. Violent crimes should not have double standards, he says targeting the Left.

Turning to Mr. Yechury’s speech and quotes from Mein Kampf , he asks Mr. Yechury why his partymen were silent when Kannur violence happened. (Voices from Opposition benches).

“There's a deafening silence when a woman actor was abducted, no interview, no word till police acted,” says Mr. Chandrasekhar.

And he turns to the subject of modernising the police force. He rakes up the issue of DIG Roopa’s transfer in Karnataka.

3.58 pm: SP members troop into the Well and Chair assures them action will be taken.  SP members still unconvinced. SP’s Naresh Agrawal objects to taking name of Akhilesh Yadav and Azam Khan who are not in the House. Chair again assures of action.

3.35 pm: Prabhat Jha of the BJP is speaking. Defends the RSS role in the freedom movement negating the claims of the Opposition.  Mr. Jha quotes Jawaharlal Nehru himself in his defence of the Parivar.  He too indulges in pre-2014 statistics on communal violence and defends the U.P. govt. on containing Saharanpur violence.

 

Vocal opposition from Opposition benches.

Mr. Jha quotes SP leader Azam Khan. Mr. Sharma raises point of order that a person who cannot defend him cannot be quoted.  Mr. Jha concludes his speech.

3.22 pm: Nominated member K.T.S. Tulsi says the discussion should be titled mob rule vs rule of law. While reminding of the 1984 incidents, he says times were different now. Now, everyone is captured in a smartphone unlike in 1984. 

A comment from Treasury on the returning Opp. members that they were coming back with heads down, invites flak. Mr. Tulsi too says it's wrong from the part of the Treasury. 

Mr. Tulsi says statistics doesn't show the mob violence had been dealt with contrasting the govt.’s claims. "If he’s serious in condemning in mob lynchings, the PM should ban the organisations who are openly supporting the violence,” he says. 

3.19 pm: LoP Ghulam Nabi Azad makes a speech and condemns HRD Minister's speech and declares the Congress is walking out. 

Congress members walk out objecting to HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar’s comments, in the Rajya Sabha on July 21, 2017.

Congress members walk out objecting to HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar’s comments, in the Rajya Sabha on July 21, 2017.  

 

3.18 pm: SP member Jaya Bachchan objects to the "BUT" in the Mr. Javadekar’s speech after condemning lynchings. She says Mr. Minister condemn and stop with that.

 

3.08 pm: HRD Minister Parakash Javadekar raises to respond, saying mob lynchings are a crime against humanity. “But along with this we should not fall prey to selective amnesia. In 1984, homes were burnt in Delhi and 3,000 Sikhs were lynched,” he says.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017.  

 

He goes on despite voices from Opposition, he goes on to rake up the Godhra train burning. "Isn't that a big lynching,” he asks.

He reels out statistics on lynchings from pre-May 2014 times, and asks whose government was in place.

Concludes with an appeal not to tar the name of the country over lynchings.

2.56 pm: It's shameful that this Parliament is discussing an act like mob lynching even after seven decades after independence. Dalits, minorities and women doesn't want sympathy or empathy. They want empowerment guaranteed by the Constitution, says Mr. Raja adding that manuvadi Fascism, Brahminical Fascism is behind the lynchings. “This is a project of insurrection,” he says. 

CPI leader D. Raja speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017. Photo: RSTV

CPI leader D. Raja speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017. Photo: RSTV  

 

Mr. Raja goes on to quote extensively from Gandhi and Vivekananda while daring the Treasury benches to challenge to disprove the quotes. And laso from the NYT.

He questions what values were we talking in the name of claiming “our ancient civilisation” if we kill Muslims for eating beef and Dalits for marrying out of their castes. 

2.55 pm: Chair talks about paucity of time, before calling CPI leader D. Raja. 

2.52 pm: Anand Sharma, Mr. Yadav and other Opposition members take objection to comments from the Treasury benches. Chairs dismisses it as “shadow fight” as the said comments were are not on record. 

2.35 pm: JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav equates lynchings to “Talibani” atrocities and laments the fact that Jharkhand had become hub of such incidents, while taking pride that in JD(U)-RJD-ruled Bihar there was no such incident. “The climate of fear is making people  afraid of travelling in trains, buses,” he says. 

JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017.

JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017. Photo: RSTV  

 

“Cattle is the ATM of the farmers. We call it cattle wealth (pashu dhan),” he says adding that because of the climate of lynchings the farmers are driven towards suicide.

Moves to the Dalit issues, he quotes Rohith Vemula who had said my birth is my crime.

2.30 pm: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi raises a point of order and wants Mr. Sibal to authenticate the quotes of the Prime Minister and asks the Chair to look into his comments against certain institutions (VHP, Bajran Dal etc) "who cannot come and defend themselves in the House).

2.15 pm: Kapil Sibal of the Congress speaks in the discussion. He says if the violence is done on cow, the most non-violent animal, then it means killing of the cow, of non-violence, of ahimsa.

Congress member Kapil Sibal speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017.

Congress member Kapil Sibal speaks in the Rajya Sabha on July 20, 2017.  

 

“If you are talking about the Mahatma, aren't you supposed to follow him too?” he says.

Quoting from the statements of the Parivar outfits like the VHP, Mr. Sibal builds his case that the BJP-Sangh leadership is condoning gau rakshaks.  He says a climate of fear has been spread so that no one even wants to speak over phone.

The ones who do the lynchings, are they real Hindus, he asks. “No, they are naqli Hindus (fake Hindus),” he says.

“It's (the lynchings) are nothing to do with the vigilantes, but it is to do with the Prime Minister. Then, why his statements in 2015, 2016 and 2017 did not have any effect.

 

“If you are restricting sale of cattle, you are killing the (livelihood) of the farmers,” Mr. Sibal says starting his points on the economic impact of the lynchings. Because of the vigilantes India's leather industry has been impacted, he says pointing out that Mr. Modi’s main Make in India pitch was on leather industry. “You are killing off Make in India.”

“This House must rise together against the private army of vigilantes to protect the peace an tranquility. If the naqli Hindus don't rise, the asli Hindus will,” Mr. Sibal says concluding his speech.  

2 pm: Rajya Sabha reconvenes, the discussion on the reported incidents of mob lynchings and atrocities against minorities and Dalits.

1:00 pm On that note, Question Hour ends. House is adjourned till 2 pm.

12:50 pm An MP asks about the cradle baby scheme to safeguard abandoned children. Union Minister Maneka Gandhi says the ministry has put the scheme in 11 States at 265 places, and 205 babies have been received so far, she says. Ms. Gandhi says she doesn't have details of the gender of the babies. They will all be adopted, she says.

Ms. Gandhi said she initially wanted to keep cradles near police station. But later, it was withdrawn as the ministry felt it won't work. Instead hospitals, welfare centres and adoption centres are chosen, she says.

12:40 pm Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Tawar Chand Gehlot takes questions on old age homes and de-addiction centres begin run in the country. There are about 450 old age runs functioning across the country, he says.

12:30 pm Naresh Agrawal asks about Doklam stand-off. He asks if any countries are supporting India's stand. Ms. Swaraj elaborates on the issue and says every nation is supporting India. She says China unilaterally reached the tri-junction, which India and Bhutan have objected to it.

Opposition wants a detailed discussion, to which the Chair says he will discuss with the government.

12:28 pm Chhaya Verma asks about China's assertion in maritime routes. She talks in length about how China is establishing bases in India's neighbouring countries including Sri Lanka. Ms. Swaraj assures that India's security is not under threat.

12:20 pm Rajeev Shukla says the digital notes in schools may work in urban areas. What about rural areas? Mr. Javadekar says Centre is sponsoring the scheme in Kendriya Vidyalayas. The scheme is being piloted in Maharashtra.

12:14 pm HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar answers questions on CBSE schools. An MP asks about the burden of schoolbags, to which Mr. Javadekar says efforts are being made to keep the number of books minimum. Telangana government's order to cap weight of school bag, Tamil Nadu's semester-based system and Maharashtra's digital efforts find mention.

12:13 pm Tapan Sen also asks abut H-1B visa. Ms. Swaraj says she will give a detailed statement on the issue.

12:08 pm What is the self-reliance in defence production. This is not Make in India. It is manufacture in America, use in India, he says.

Ms. Swaraj says this is the first government that is walking towards self-reliance in defence manufacturing. She takes a dig at the CPI leader says the governments they supported earlier were also not self-reliant in the sector. Mr. Raja objects to it.

12:05 pm Lok Sabha adjourned for the day.

12:04 pm Second question from Mr. Maithreyan. He wants to know if Israel is sharing its technology on unmanned border surveillance. Ms. Swaraj says she has given a detailed reply on paper.

12:00 noon Zero Hour ends. Question Hour begins. Mr. Ansari is in the Chair. AIADMK MP V. Maithreyan asks if H1B visa was made by the Prime Minister during his interaction with US President Donald Trump.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says the Prime Minister took the issue without using the word H-1B.

11:55 am Anand Sharma takes up the issue of US deciding to cut the number of H1B visas, and restriction on Indian IT professionals. There is not even a mention of IT professionals in the joint statement issued by India and United States following the Prime Minister's visit to the country, he says.

11:50 am C.P. Narayanan seeks exemption of GST on goods that aid the differently abled. A braille typewriter which was sold at Rs. 34,000 will now be sold at Rs. 40,000 he says.

11:43 am Over 60,000 families in Jhansi, Hamirpur and other districts from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh will benefit from Ken-Betwa river linking, says Uma Bharti in Lok Sabha while replying to questions pertaining her ministry.  Lok Sabha adjourned again.

11:42 am Naresh Agrawal talks about spurious and misleading advertisements. He claims he tried a fairness cream seeing an advertisement but couldn't become fair!

11:41 am Rajeev Shukla says the implementation of GST is flawed. Many MPs join the issue.

11:40 am Question Hour continues in Lok Sabha. MoS Sanjeev Balyan gives out details on project for irrigation of Bundelkhand.

11:35 am: Ritabrata Chakraborty and Vijila Sathyanath raise the issue of "high rates" of GST on powerloom and handloom sectors.

11:32 am: Lok Sabha reconvenes. Speaker proceeds with Question Hour but Congress MPs continue to shout slogans.

11:30 am Ahmed Hassan speaks on negative impact of GST. He speaks about textile sector employees who protested in Gujarat recently. Ahmed Patel also associates with him.

11:25 am MPs from North East raise the issue of Assam floods. Ripun Bora says Assam government has not taken any contingency plans.

11:22 am Viplove Thakur raises the issue of girls being 'sold off' to other States on the pretext of marriage. This is also human trafficking, she says. She says in Haryana, brides from states like Odisha are being "shared" among male members.

11:20 am AIADMK MP Navaneethakrishnan says the Tamil Nadu farmers are not agitating against the State government. They are protesting against Centre since they haven't revised the MSP.

11:15 am Congress MP Digvijaya Singh brings to the attention of the House using Motion 267. He talks about the plight of farmers, their demand for rise in MSP.

Mr. Singh appeals MPs from Tamil Nadu to pay a visit to Jantar Mantar and meet agitating farmers from the State. AIADMK MPs object to the reference.

The Chair says a short duration discussion will be taken us "as soon as possible" So he rejects Motion 267 notice brought by Mr. Singh.

11:10 am In Rajya Sabha, Naresh Agrawal raises the issue of airlines banning two MPs for their "unruly behaviour". The Chair says the law of the land should take care of violation an MP. "Airlines cannot punish them," he says.

Read more
 

11:10 am In the meantime, Lok Sabha begins proceedings with Question Hour. Opposition MPs indulge in sloganeering. Ashok Gajapati Raju replies to questions, but sloganeering continues. Lok Sabha adjourned till 11:30 am.

11:04 am Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore raises to make statement. A member interrupts to say the government should make a statement on Doklam stand-off.

11:03 am Various papers are being laid on the table. Deputy Chiarman P.J. Kurien is in the Chair.

11:02 am Mr. Ansari announces the death of Syed Nizamuddin, a former Rajya Sabha member from Jammu and Kashmir. Members pay silent homage to the veteran Kashmir leader.

11:00 am Rajya Sabha begins its proceedings. Vice President Hamid Ansari is in the Chair.

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