Rahul’s ‘rape’ remark rocks Parliament, both Houses adjourned sine die

Opposition members spoke after Union health minister Harsh Vardhan's statement and provided suggestions for containing the spread of coronavirus. File photo: PTI

Women MPs of the BJP rose up in arms, on Friday (December 13) against Rahul Gandhi’s “rape in India” remark made at a poll rally in Jharkhand on Thursday. On account of the ruckus both Houses had to be adjourned till noon. The Lok Sabha met thrice at short intervals before it was adjourned sine die.

In the Lok Sabha, as soon as Speaker Om Birla paid tributes to the those who lost their lives in the 2001 Parliament attack, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said several BJP members who had given notices of adjournment against Gandhi’s remarks demanded that they be allowed to speak. With pandemonium setting in, Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House for half-an-hour.

Union Minister Smriti Irani, who led the attack on Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha said, “This is first time in history that a leader is giving a clarion call that Indian women should be raped. Is this Rahul Gandhi’s message to the people of the country? He should be punished.”

She further added, “Not all men are rapists. This is an insult to India… Rahul Gandhi is touching 50, and doesn’t realise that such a statement seems like an invitation to rape in India.”

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi too was unsparing in his attack on Rahul. He said, “Rahul Gandhi has insulted every woman in India by saying what he has said.”

In the Rajya Sabha, soon after Congress leader Anand Sharma raised concerns about the disturbing situation in the Northeast during the Zero Hour, eminent classical dancer Sonal Mansingh raised a point of order on the reported remark.

Women MPs from the treasury benches were in the aisle terming the Congress leader’s remark against the dignity of women in the country.

Stating that the Congress leader in question was not a member of the upper house and his name cannot be taken, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu ruled out the point of order and asked the nominated member to meet him after the House was adjourned.
He asked CPI leader Binoy Viswam to raise the matter during Zero Hour, but the ruckus continued forcing the chair to adjourn the House till noon.

When the Lok Sabha met at 12 noon, there was no sign of any let up in the atmosphere as the BJP demanded an apology from Rahul Gandhi. Union Minister Rajnath Singh lashed out at Rahul by saying “People who make such remarks have no moral right to be member of this House.” Unable to convince the members to help restore order, the speaker adjourned the House till 12:15 pm.

When the House re-assembled at 12:15 pm, Speaker Om Birla read out his remarks over various issues taken up during the session, the treasury benches were seen demanding an apology from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his reported rape remarks.

Opposition members were also heard shouting slogans such as “we want justice” and demanded that Gandhi should be given a chance to respond.

In the ensuing melee, the speaker adjourned the House sine die.

Addressing a poll rally in the poll-bound Jharkhand, Rahul Gandhi had said, “Narendra Modi had said ‘Make in India’ but nowadays wherever you look, it is ‘Rape in India’. In Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi’s MLA raped a woman, then she met with an accident but Narendra Modi did not utter a word.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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