Tuesday, March 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Govt flays Orissa House attack
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 18
The government today strongly condemned the attack on Orissa Assembly by persons allegedly belonging to the VHP and the Bajrang Dal and declared that the Centre was ready to extend all help to the state government to punish those responsible for it.

While in the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee termed the attack as a “direct attack on democracy”, in the Lok Sabha Home Minister L.K. Advani said culprits, whether from the BJP or any other party should be punished.

Prime Minister in fact took a strong exception to the agitators shouting slogans in his favour. He said he would prefer to die rather than such people saying “zindabad” to him.

The Prime Minister said, “This is a blot on democracy. When we call Parliament as a temple of democracy, Vidhan Sabha is a smaller temple”.

The resolution moved by the Leader of the House, Mr Jaswant Singh, and unanimously adopted by the House said: “The vandalisation of the premises, damage to the property and injury to security personnel and employees of the Assembly secretariat amounts to nothing less than a direct attack on democracy itself.”

The resolution said Rajya Sabha unequivocally condemns the incident and recommends stern and deterrent action against the guilty.

In the Lok Sabha the Home Minister while replying to an impromptu debate on the issue said, “When Parliament was attacked on December 13, I felt angry. But the attack on Orissa assembly made me feel ashamed”.

Observing that he was proud to be associated with the RSS since his childhood, Mr Advani suggested he would be “ashamed” if any organisation directly or indirectly connected to the RSS was involved in the attack.

Maintaining that he did not have sufficient words to condemn the incident, he said the Assembly was already taking action.

“Democracy is one of the greatest strengths of India and anyone who tries to strike at its root cannot be spared,” the Home Minister said, adding that the guilty, whether belonging to the BJP or any other organisation, should be brought to book.

Condemning the incident, Deputy Speaker P.M. Sayeed said the attack had not only denigrated the dignity of the legislature but also undermined the democratic values enshrined in the Constitution.

Earlier, the Lok Sabha was adjourned till noon over the issue as Opposition members demanded the suspension of the Question Hour to have a discussion.

For about 20 minutes there were shouts and counter-shouts between Opposition and ruling party members, forcing Mr Sayeed to adjourn the House till noon.Back

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