Opposition parties said on Sunday they will raise the issue of Delhi’s communal riots, which have killed at least 42 people and injured about 350 others, and seek answers from the central government over alleged police lapses when the second leg of Parliament’s budget session begins on Monday.
The communal riot, Delhi’s worst in at least three decades, broke out last week, with clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups in several neighbourhoods of north-east Delhi leaving dozens dead. The Delhi Police were widely criticised for not acting against rioters on Monday and Tuesday – the 48 hours when the violence was at its peak.
The Congress is likely to submit adjournment motion notices in both Houses of Parliament on Monday, demanding a debate over the clashes in the national capital, a senior party leader said on condition of anonymity. Leaders of the Trinamool Congress, the CPI and the CPI(M) said they planned to raise the issue in Parliament and demand answers from home minister Amit Shah.
The Congress’s leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the party will “strongly raise” the issue of the communal riots and demand Shah’s resignation over the alleged police lapses. “The government has miserably failed to maintain law and order. I think there must be some sort of a nexus between the rioters and a section of police officials which resulted in gruesome killings and arson that has tarnished our image across the globe. This is a matter of serious concern for us,” he said.
While the Opposition also plans to target the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government over the state of the economy and farm issues, government managers have prepared a list of about 25 bills, including those on labour reforms and surrogacy regulation, for passage, people aware of the developments said. The finance bill will also be passed during the session.
The list of key pending bills also includes The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, that envisages a Data Protection Authority to overlook the scope of usage of personal data. The Direct Tax Vivaad Se Vishwas Bill to set up a resolution mechanism for direct tax disputes, and the contentious Industrial Relations Code Bill that redefines the role of trade unions are also part of the list.
The budget session of Parliament commenced on January 31 and continued till February 11. After a break, it will again commence on March 2 and continue till April 3.
Speaking about the plan to raise the issue of riots in Parliament, CPI(M) MP KK Ragesh said: “Left parties will strengthen the voice of the Opposition in Parliament and raise the issue of Delhi violence in both the Houses. I have given a notice under Rule 267 to the Rajya Sabha chairman to discuss the issue in the House.”
CPI general secretary D Raja said his party will demand that Shah answer for the “inaction” of the Delhi Police, which comes under the ministry of home affairs. “The violence in Delhi will be raised in Parliament by our party. We will also reach out to other parties on the issue,” he said.
A senior leader of the Trinamool Congress told PTI on condition of anonymity that his party also planned to raise the issues.
The remarks came even as Union minister Anurag Thakur on Sunday demanded strict action against those involved in the violence in north-east Delhi. “From Monday, Parliament session will begin, questions are raised there also from economy to various other issues and on that platform, answers will be given on various matters,” he said in Chandigarh.
Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has previously hit out at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, questioning the rival party’s stand on the issue.
At a rare press conference after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Wednesday, Sonia Gandhi repeatedly demanded Shah’s resignation over the issue of the riots.
A Congress delegation that included Sonia Gandhi urged President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday to call for the home minister’s resignation over his alleged “abdication of duty” during the communal violence.
The Congress’s senior leader in the Rajya Sabha Abhishek Singhvi said the “wanton destruction of democratic values” will be taken up in the strongest possible terms. “The country is assured that we will discharge our responsibilities vigorously and without fear, despite extreme and illegal intrusion and harassment,” he added.
A Congress functionary familiar with the developments said the party will also raise the issue of the “sudden transfer” of Delhi high court judge S Muralidhar, who had made strong observations in court over the violence.
The Centre on Wednesday notified the transfer of justice Muralidhar to the Punjab and Haryana high court. The Supreme Court Collegium had recommended his transfer on February 12.
Political analysts said that most of the issues raised in Parliament are likely to see heated debates between the ruling side and the opposition benches.
During the session, 55 Rajya Sabha seats will be up for grabs in the biggest biennial polls since Prime Minister Narendra Modi won his second term. The elections, slated for March 26, may see a net loss of four seats for the BJP-led NDA and a gain of two seats for the Congress and its allies. Parties friendly to the BJP parties may see a net gain of two seats in this round.