Opposition Stalls Parliament on Moga Rape, Demands President Rule in Punjab
New Delhi: Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned repeatedly as the Opposition united in condemning the Akali Dal and BJP in Punjab for the rape and death of a teenage girl, and the crude remarks made by Minister Surjeet Singh Rakhra, who had attributed the girl’s death to God’s Will.
Angry Opposition leaders demanded the resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and Education Minister Surjeet Singh Rakhra. The Education Minister had said, "Nobody can stop accidents. Whatever happens that happens by God's will."
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, " A Punjab Minister has said that this is the act of God, that there's no crime in it. I think such a minister should not remain in office". Congress leaders asked for President's rule in Punjab and they were supported by the Left and the Bahujan Samaj party in that demand.
Capt. Amarinder Singh of Congress said, "Moga is a culmination of what is happening in Punjab... law and order and the economy are in shambles in Punjab".
In the ensuing ruckus that followed the remarks, both Houses were adjourned a number of times to dispel the heat between the opposition and the treasury benches.
In the Rajya Sabha, Deputy Chairman, P J Kurien was heard repeatedly blocking efforts by the opposition to discuss the issue, saying that no discussion could be allowed as no prior notice had been given.
"I am not saying anything about the merit of what you are saying. All I have said is please give notice... I cannot allow the debate when one side is stiffly opposing, there has to be consensus", Kurien said.
Sitaram Yechury cited the exceptional nature of the incident and asked the Chair to allow a discussion. "Because of the importance of the incident. Please allow us to discuss", he said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi objected to the practice of discussing state subjects in Parliament. Yechury countered this by pointing out that the incident constituted a crime against a woman and a Dalit, hence could definitely be discussed in Parliament.
BSP leader Mayawati asked for President's rule in Punjab since the law and order situation was in shambles there. "Life and property of women in Punjab is in danger... President's rule should be imposed", she said.
Deputy Chairman adjourned the House briefly after the unrelenting demands of opposition for a discussion.
A determined Opposition stalled proceedings in the Lok Sabha as well. Many members chanted in unison "we want justice" when Minister Harsimrat Kaur rose to speak to address the House. The Speaker of the House, Sumitra Mahajan rejected the Opposition demand for the adjournment of question hour to discuss the Moga incident.
When the leaders did not relent she was forced to adjourn the House.
Last week a 14 year old girl Arshdeep Kaur along with her mother, Shinder Kaur, were forced to throw themselves off a private bus in Moga when she was harassed and molested by a group of rowdy youths. The driver and conductor of the bus encouraged the molesters and joined them in the harassment.
The girl died on the spot, while her mother was seriously injured and now is recuperating in a local hospital. The bus belonged to Orbit bus service which is owned by the Badal family.