Indian Parliament: 78 opposition MPs suspended for causing ruckus
A total of 78 opposition lawmakers of the Indian parliament -- 33 from Lok Sabha, and 45 from the Rajya Sabha -- were suspended yesterday for disrupting proceedings of the Houses over a major security breach of parliament.
The disciplinary action is one of the biggest in Indian history.
Of the lawmakers, 64 lawmakers have been suspended for the remainder of the current winter session of parliament which ends on December 22.
Last week, 14 MPs were suspended -- 13 from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha -- for raising slogans and disrupting parliamentary proceedings.
The security breach occurred on December 13, the 22nd anniversary of an attack on the Indian parliament complex when more than a dozen people, including five gunmen, were killed.
A man jumped into the lower house chamber from the visitors' gallery while members were in session, shouted slogans and set off a smoke canister. A second man tried to follow him. Both were caught by lawmakers and security personnel, and taken away.
At around the same time, two persons, including a woman, released coloured gas from canisters while shouting slogans 'tanashahi nahi chalegi' (dictatorship will not be allowed) outside the parliament premises.
Police have arrested six people and filed terrorism charges against four of them.
In Lok Sabha, leader of Congress Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, T R Baalu of Dravida Munnetra Kazagham and Sougata Ray of Trinamool Congress were suspended for displaying placards and raising slogans over the security breach issue.
Three MPs also climbed on the Speaker's podium to raise slogans.
In Rajya Sabha, several members, including Congress's Jairam Ramesh, Randeep Surjewala and K C Venugopal, were suspended for causing similar disruptions.
Leader of House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal said Congress and its allies "insulted" the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha chairperson with their conduct.
After the disruptions, India's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion regarding the suspension of the protesting MPs and it was adopted by a voice vote.
After the motion, the House was adjourned for the day.
Opposition parties have slammed the suspension, noting that no action has been taken against BJP MP Prathap Simha who facilitated the passes of two accused who carried smoke canisters with them in Lok Sabha.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the BJP-led government is making a "mockery of democracy."
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that "all democratic norms are being thrown into the dustbin by an autocratic Modi."
The government maintains the security in parliament complex is the responsibility of the Lok Sabha secretariat and it has been following the Speaker's directives. It has also cited numerous such violations in the past, accusing the opposition of politicising the issue.
But the opposition parties have been demanding a statement from Home Minister Amit Shah. They have also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak in Parliament.