RS adjourned following uproar over Gaza situation

Members kept citing rules to argue in favour and against a debate on Gaza for almost two hours during which the House was adjourned several times.

Updated - November 27, 2021 06:55 pm IST

Published - July 16, 2014 03:44 pm IST - New Delhi

The NDA government found itself in an awkward position in the Rajya Sabha as the opposition refused to allow transaction of any business after it sought to wriggle out of a discussion on the “unprecedented spurt in violence in Gaza and West Bank area of Palestine.” With both sides not reaching any agreement, the House was adjourned for the day after repeated disruptions.

Immediately after question hour on Wednesday, Deputy Chairman P. J. Kurien announced zero hour, triggering protests from the opposition, which wanted to know why the short duration discussion on the Gaza situation was not being taken up though it was listed in the business papers.

Opposition members were not pacified when Mr Kurien announced that the government had not agreed to the discussion.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was present in the House, said she got to know about the business in the House late and had written to Chairman Hamid Ansari requesting that the discussion be dropped as it could impact India’s relations with the countries involved in the conflict.

“We have diplomatic ties with both nations. Any discourteous reference to any friendly country can impact our relations with them,” Ms Swaraj said. However, the opposition refused to yield, saying no one had the right to alter the listed business.

Ms. Swaraj, along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu, said the House should take up the debate on the Railway Budget till the Chairman gave a ruling on her letter.

The notice for the short duration discussion on Gaza was given by Mr. Azad and eight others representing several opposition parties.

As the Government and the Opposition locked horns over the issue, Mr. Kurien adjourned the House till 2 pm. But there was no change in the situation when the House reassembled, leading to adjournment for another hour. With no agreement in sight by 3 p.m. the House was adjourned for the day.

Safety of Indians

Government sources said the reason for its hesitation in taking a visibly partisan stand related to the ongoing crisis in Iraq and the safety of Indians, especially those still kept in captivity in ISIS-held areas. “The government didn't want divisions to come out through a debate which would either speak for or against Palestine or Israel. The government's stand, however, hasn't changed,” the sources said.

On Thursday, 18 more nurses were escorted to safety in Iraq and will return home. But the fate of others, including the 39 men in Mosul, still hangs in the balance, officials said.

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