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Nandigram issue rocks Parliament
Both Houses adjourned for the day
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 19
Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day today on the Nandigram issue with the Opposition disrupting the proceedings over violence in the area.

As the Lok Sabha assembled for the day, BJP and JD(U) members demanded suspension of the question hour to discuss violence in Nandigram. The demand was strongly opposed by CPI(M) members and House was adjourned till noon.

After the House reassembled, there were noisy scenes again. External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee made a statement condoling the loss of life and property in neighbouring Bangladesh in the recent cyclone and offered humanitarian assistance.

The Opposition members were soon on their feet with BJP deputy leader V.K Malhotra demanding that the Nandigram issue be taken up. Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said the issue was not listed and he could not allow any discussion. With the Opposition continuing its protest, the Chair adjourned the House for the day.

The Rajya Sabha was first adjourned till noon before being adjourned for the day. After the House reassembled, the BJP and Trinamool Congress members trooped into the well of the House demanding that the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government be dismissed. They did not go back to their seats despite repeated requests from deputy chairman K.Rahman Khan.

In the din, Khan allowed laying down of papers related to different ministries. After Mukherjee made a statement on India’s offer of humanitarian assistance to cyclone- hit people in Bangladesh, Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi stood up and demanded that the government must also share the grief and distress of the displaced people of Nandigram who were facing atrocities.

The Chair allowed BJP leader Jaswant Singh to share the government’s concern over the situation created by cyclone in Bangladesh and express solidarity with the affected people. The House was later adjourned for the day.

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Sparks fly in Andhra House too

Hyderabad, November 19
The political furore over Nandigram violence found its echo in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly today with CPI(M) and Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) members resorting to a war of words, questioning each other’s commitment to the cause of minorities.

MIM floor leader A.Owaisi caused a flutter when he sought to draw a parallel between anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat and the violence in Nandigram.

“West Bengal Chief Minister is speaking the language of Narendra Modi. He has justified attacks by CPI(M) cadres. Muslims are being targeted there,” Owaisi said, while participating in a discussion on minorities welfare.

His remark evoked strong protests from CPI(M) whose floor leader N.Narasimhaiah dubbed MIM as a “party confined to the old city of Hyderabad”. — PTI

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Centre’s no to President’s rule in West Bengal
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, November 19
The Centre has rejected the Opposition demand for the imposition of the President’s rule in West Bengal over the Nandigram issue.

The union minister of state for home, Sriparkash Jaiswal, told media persons in the city today that conditions prevailing at Nandigram as well the state’s over all law and order situation did not warrant the application of Article 356. He added that an elected government could not be dislodged like that.

But today the Maoists blew up railway tracks at some places, nearby eastern railway’s Asansol division on the Andal-Sainthia line, resulting in the stoppage of train services on the section for about 10 hours in the morning since 5 am. Similarly, several land mines and other explosives were also recovered from the Nandigram and Khejuri areas, which hinted at the presence of Maoists in Nandigram.

Jaiswal, however, said the Centre had been keeping a close watch on the situation in Nandigram and it would take appropriate steps at the right time. But he did not spell out what appropriate steps the Centre was contemplating.

The Trinamool Congress, the Congress, the BJP and all other opposition parties today reiterated their demand for the enforcement of Article 356 in the state. Mamata said if Article 356 was not possible then Article 355 be applied immediately and Nandigram be declared a “disturbed area” as had been done in the past in Tripura during the CPM regime.

The Trinamool Congress today restarted it’s agitation programme.

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SC dismisses PIL
S.S Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, November 19
The Supreme Court today took a serious view of the filing of a PIL in the Nandigram case, which had little constitutional substance for the judiciary to act upon as the directions sought by the petitioner were beyond the permissible constitutional limits.

Throwing away the PIL by Kolkata lawyer Kedar Nath Yadav, a Bench of Chief Justice K.G Balakrishnan and Justice R.V Raveendran took exception to filing of a petition with on which the court has no power to act upon.

Yadav had sought to invoke the provisions of Article 355 and 356 for the imposition of President’s rule in West Bengal, by making a plea that a direction be issued to the state Governor to send a report to the Centre on breakdown of the constitutional provisions in the state and another direction to the Union Government to act upon Governor’s report to impose central rule.

“Do you think that the court would act upon such a petition,” the Bench asked Yadav, telling him that “it will be an abuse of judicial powers.”

He had made the two-fold plea in his PIL in the backdrop of the West Bengal Governor’s adverse comments on Nandigram happening and the Calcutta High Court’s observation terming the state government’s action there as “unconstitutional”.

The Left Front leaders, especially those from CPI(M) and CPI, had taken strong exception to both Governor’s comments and the High Court observations.

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NHRC chief raps Bengal govt

New Delhi, November 19
The West Bengal government was in for serious criticism from National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson Justice S.Rajendra Babu who said Nandigram was one of the ‘worst scars’ on the face of the nation.

Terming the situation in the Bengal block as ‘grave’, he said, “Nandigram and Godhra were severe assaults on the face of the democracy. They were the worst scars on the face of nations. It is shameful to see that human rights were violated in such a way.”

“State human rights panel in West Bengal is actively involved in taking up the case to its course, which it had done at the time of Gujarat riots,” he said on the sidelines of Fourth Annual Meeting of NHRC with State Human Rights Commissions. — PTI

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PM refuses to comment
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 19
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged that the government will approach the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for talks pertaining to finalising a safeguards agreement for concretising the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and refused to comment about the BJP’s charge that the Congress was silent on the Nandigram issue on the ground that this issue is being discussed in Parliament.

“All these things will come up in Parliament,” he said at Rashtrapati Bhawan on the sidelines of the presentation of the Indira Gandhi peace price here today.

Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi alleged that the Congress was quiet on the Nandigram issue either to save the Congress-led UPA government or help the CPI (M) soften its stand on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

While the BJP and the Trinamool Congress are pressing for an immediate debate on the Nandigram issue, the Left parties insist that they will not allow the matter to be raised as it was a state subject.

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Govt will not get away: BJP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 19
The Bharatiya Janata Party today said it would continue to raise the Nandigram issue and will not allow the government to get away with it as the situation was “serious”.

Agitated opposition members, especially from the BJP, stalled the proceedings in both the Houses of the Parliament and pressed for an immediate debate on the matter by suspending the question hour.

The Nandigram issue is a serious one and “we will not allow the government to get away with it,” senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj asserted.

BJP leader S.S Ahluwalia said our slogans for the current session are “Sabse pahle Nandigram baki piche sare kaam”, (first comes Nandigram, then other things) and “UPA ke kabristan Nandigram Nandigram” (Nandigram: UPA's graveyard).

RLD MP Mahmood A.Madani said the only solution to the issue is to remove the West Bengal Chief Minister and the CPM central leadership should immediately take a decision to this effect and restore peace in the area.

The CPM cadres are given freedom to kill innocent farmers. They are also involved in gangrape in Nandigram. So it is high time that the CPM leadership took prompt action in removing the Chief Minister, he demanded.

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Parliament unlikely to function today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 19
Parliament is unlikely to function smoothly tomorrow as the sharp differences between the BJP and the Left over a discussion on the Nandigram violence could not be resolved despite persistent efforts by Lok Sabha leader Pranab Mukherjee.

The BJP is insisting that the text of the motion, which will form the basis for a debate, must contain a reference to Nandigram. The Left parties, on the other hand, have protested this on the ground that rules don’t permit a discussion on state subjects in Parliament.

Mukherjee’s suggestion that the incidents of Naxal killings in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh be clubbed with the West Bengal incidents was not acceptable to leader of opposition L.K. Advani, who wanted a specific mention of Nandigram in the motion.

Advani, it’s learnt, conveyed as much to Mukherjee and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who telephoned him this evening to know about their party’s stand on this issue.

After the issue derailed today’s proceedings, the Lok Sabha speaker called leaders of all political parties where he urged the BJP to give the notice in a proper format, parliamentary affairs minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters.

Chatterjee said the adjournment motion moved by the BJP today contained a reference to the West Bengal Governor’s remarks and a court order on Nandigram, which were not permissible under the rules as such a motion has to relate to the Centre’s failures.

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CPM opposes demand for debate
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 19
Opposing the BJP-led NDA’s demand for a debate in Parliament on Nandigram violence, the CPM today said the issue could not be discussed as it was a state subject but the party was ready for a discussion in the context of Maoist violence and SEZs.

Sitaram Yechury said his party was not objecting to a debate but it had to be under the rules of business in the two Houses.

Yechury and CPM leader in Lok Sabha Basudeb Acharia have also written an open letter written to all members of parliament on the issue. The letter said that despite the state government dropping the proposal of constructing a petrochemical and petroleum investment region in the area as early as February, a false campaign was carried out to create panic among the locals. Narrating the incidents, which led to the eviction of thousands of CPM supporters from the area that remained in refugee camps for 11 months, the letter spoke of impediments created in government’s work.

The letter said sympathisers and members of CPM were driven out with the use of arms, their houses looted, plundered and burnt.

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