Speaker says LS to talk Delhi riots after Holi; reminded of Gabbar?

Proceedings were disrupted for the second day as ruckus over Delhi riots continued in both Houses

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Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla did not conduct the proceedings in the Lok Sabha for a few sessions allegedly due to the uproar in Parliament. Photo: PTI

If someone asks you, ‘Kab hai Holi,’ don’t mistake it for the classic Sholay dialogue, delivered by Amjad Khan’s infamous character Gabbar Singh. For, that person might actually be referring to the Parliament discussion on the northeast Delhi violence which, according to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, will take place on March 11, after the Holi festival.

The Gabbar of Sholay, who said, ‘Holi kab hai‘ (When is Holi), after shooting down three of his own men, personified the mindless apathy of a narcissist gang-leader who is immune to the immense pain all around.

It is only natural for the citizens, who have not yet come to terms with the Delhi violence, to see a Sholay-like situation as the Speaker deferred or rather relegated discussions on northeast Delhi violence post-Holi.

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The Speaker’s comment came as Parliament proceedings were disrupted for the second straight day on Tuesday due to opposition ruckus. The government but finally gave in to the opposition parties’ demand for a discussion, but after Holi. This could allow the government to strategise and come up with points to pin down the opposition in the event of any debate.

The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha witnessed uproarious scenes as Congress and other Opposition parties demanded an immediate discussion on riots in the national capital, forcing multiple adjournments of the proceedings.

Despite the Speaker’s warning that members could be suspended from attending rest of the session in case of certain unruly behaviour, there was ruckus in the afternoon as BJP and Opposition members tried to shove each other.

Related news: In riot-hit Delhi, students hope for a history better than violence, riots

Opposition members, who were demanding an immediate discussion, trooped into the Well of the House after Birla said the discussion would take place on March 11 after Holi festival. Amid the uproar, some members were also seen banging the enclosure of Secretary-General Snehlata Shrivastava, whose seat is just below the Speaker’s podium.

The violence in northeast Delhi which erupted last week has claimed 47 lives so far and injured hundreds of others.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury walked over to the side of the Well facing the Treasury benches, which led to a commotion between the ruling party and opposition members. Other Opposition party members too followed Chowdhury and BJP members blocked their way.

BJP MP from West Bengal Locket Chatterjee was seen having heated arguments with Chowdhury, and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tried to pacify them.

“We are working for the benefit of the country. Keeping in mind the situation in the country, celebrate Holi festival in peace and harmony… government is ready to discuss the issue after Holi on March 11,” Birla said.

As the ruckus continued after the House met at 2 pm, Birla adjourned the proceedings for the day. Prior to that, there were two adjournments.

Related news: Members who cross over to other side will face suspension: Speaker

Meanwhile, a similar situation prevailed in the Rajya Sabha over the Opposition parties’ demand that an immediate discussion be held regarding the Delhi violence.

In the morning, the Upper House was adjourned twice as Opposition and Treasury benches indulged in a war of words over alleged hate speech by Union Minister Anurag Thakur in the run up to Delhi Assembly polls and violence in the national capital. There was ruckus in the House in the morning when Thakur, who is the Minister of State for Finance, was called to lay listed papers pertaining to the Finance Ministry. He was booed by Opposition benches.

After it met at 3 pm following the two adjournments, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said it would appear strange if Parliament did not discuss the incidents of violence in Delhi when the whole world was talking about the violence.

Leader of the House Thawar Chand Gehlot said the government was ready for a discussion on the issue. Deputy Chairman Harivansh said the timing of the discussion could only be decided after consulting Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.

Amid the din, the House was adjourned for the day.

(With inputs from agencies)

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