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Fresh Godhra probe rocks Parliament
Tribune News Service

Family members of the victims, who were burnt to death in an attack on a train in 2002, and activists of the VHP and Bajrang Dal burn Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav's effigy
Family members of the victims, who were burnt to death in an attack on a train in 2002, and activists of the VHP and Bajrang Dal burn Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav's
effigy during a demonstration in Ahmedabad on Thursday. — Reuters photo

New Delhi, July 15
The government’s decision to institute a fresh probe into the Godhra train carnage today plunged Parliament into turmoil with angry Opposition members charging the government with trying to divide the country along communal lines.

As soon as both Houses assembled in this morning, agitated members of the NDA, particularly the BJP and the Shiv Sena, were on their feet shouting slogans against the decision.

While there were as many four adjournments in the Lok Sabha before Speaker Somnath Chatterjee adjourned it for the day, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned thrice, the last time for the day, without transacting any business.

Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav had announced yesterday in the Lok Sabha about the government’s decision to conduct a fresh inquiry into the Godhra incident.

In the Lok Sabha, as soon as the House assembled at 11 am today, BJP leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra raised the issue saying that the Railway Minister’s decision would result in stoking communal tension in the country.

He said as several cases were pending in courts, there was no need to institute a fresh inquiry.

Soon thereafter, BJP and Shiv Sena members trooped to the well of the House raising slogans such as Laloo hatao, desh bachao (remove Laloo, save the country).

Members of the treasury benches countered this immediately by shouting Modi hatao, desh bachao (remove Modi, save the country) and Phoot gaya, phoot gaya, RSS ka bhanda phoot gaya) ( RSS is exposed).

Clearly upset over the behaviour and conduct of Opposition members, the Speaker instructed the cameras to be kept rolling. “What are you doing, I do not understand. Let the country see how you are behaving in Parliament”.

RJD member Ram Kirpal Yadav received a warning from the Speaker as he moved into the aisle raising slogans.

“Ram Kirpal Yadav, I am giving you a warning”, Mr Chatterjee said. As nothing could be heard in the din, the Speaker adjourned the House till 12 noon.

The situation was no different as the House reassembled with a defiant Opposition refusing to budge. The Speaker, who was repeatedly pleading with the members to go back to their seats, was clearly upset and said: “You are more interested in slogan-shouting,” and reminded the members that he had decided to allow Mr Nitish Kumar to make a statement after the lunch recess.

As the din continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till 2 pm.

When the House reassembled after the lunch recess, Mr Nitish Kumar wanted to know why the Railway Minister had ordered the inquiry during this reply to the debate on the Railway Budget as this had nothing to with the Budget.

This resulted in uproarious scenes forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House till 3 p.m.

Mr Nitish Kumar again demanded that he be allowed to speak, but the treasury benches opposed this. As nothing could be heard in the din, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the Rajya Sabha also with vociferous members of the Opposition stalling proceedings protesting against the fresh inquiry on the Godhra issue.

Seeking a reply from the Prime Minister the Opposition members shouted slogans such as PM jawab do (PM should answer) and Laloo danda nahin chalega (Laloo’s strong arm tactics will not be tolerated).

Chairperson Bhairon Singh Shekhawat allowed a BJP member, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, to speak even as the din continued. Dr Joshi accused the government of hatching a “conspiracy” for “petty political gains” which would divide the country.

The House was first adjourned till 12 noon and when similar scenes prevailed the House was adjourned till 2 pm.

When the House reassembled after the second adjournment, Mr Dinesh Trivedi, who was in the chair, said a special mention would be taken up followed by a discussion on the Budget.

But BJP members rushed into the well of the House, protesting against the fresh probe forcing Mr Tiwari to adjourn the House for the day.
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