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BJP-SP scuffle over Liberhan report, unruly scenes in RS

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - 16:24

New Delhi: Seventeen years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid that polarised the country along communal lines, the report of the Liberhan Commission of Inquiry was Tuesday tabled in Parliament amid turmoil, slogan shouting and even scuffles between MPs of various parties.

The report was first tabled in the Lok Sabha and then in the Rajya Sabha, which had to be adjourned as fisticuffs broke out between members of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose senior leaders like LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi have been indicted.
As the home minister read out a statement tabling the report in the Upper House, BJP MPs broke out into cries of "Jai Shri Ram". This appeared to anger SP general secretary Amar Singh, who got up and advanced menacingly toward BJP`s SS Ahluwalia and objected to the slogans.

The SP leader tried to push Ahluwalia away, but was in turn violently pushed back. This led to other members joining in the scuffle.

To calm down the agitated members, Minister of State in the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) Prithiviraj Chavan ran towards them but could not defuse the situation.

As the din continued, Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan adjourned the house till 2 pm. This was the third adjournment of the House since morning.

Following the unseemly scenes, Amar Singh told reporters outside Parliament: "I am ready to apologise to Ahluwalia. I didn`t want to manhandle him but he raised slogans that had the potential of dividing the house along communal lines."

There was some unrest in the Lok Sabha too when Chidambaram tabled the report amid slogan shouting from the opposition benches.
"I am tabling the report along with the Action Taken Report," he said, as BJP MPs stood up to protest, demanding that the contents of the report should be discussed in Parliament.

However, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar managed to calm the slogan shouting members.

The house then continued to hold other businesses that were scheduled.

The decision to table the report was taken following an emergency meeting of the cabinet earlier in the day. The meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the absence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is in the US.

The BJP had stalled both the houses of the Parliament Monday over the leak of the report to the media and asked the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to table the report into the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

However, the copy of the report was not distributed in the House. But it will be uploaded in the Ministry of Home Affairs website.

As the issue of the demolition of the 16th century mosque that was brought down by radical Hindu activists on Dec 6, 1992 on grounds that it was built on the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram came back to the national centrestage, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said it was the "demolition of the secular fabric of the country".

Amar apologised to Ahluwalia for the scuffle

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh on Tuesday apologised to BJP Rajya Sabha member SS Ahluwalia for his conduct, following a scuffle in Rajya Sabha soon after Liberhan Commission report was tabled in the House by Home Minister P Chidambaram.

As the Home Minister rose to lay a copy of the report during Zero Hour, the BJP members started chanting "Jai Sriram".

This infuriated SP member Amar Singh who led his party colleagues to BJP senior member SS Ahluwalia in the front row and pounced upon him by catching his collar.

Singh and Ahluwalia were separated by their party colleagues.

The unruly scene upset Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan so much he left the Chair without even announcing the adjournment of the House.

However, Singh apologised to Ahluwalia while re-entering the House near the Parliament gate, when it was about to be reconvened.

Earlier while speaking to reporters, Singh said, "I will apologise to him as I had no intentions to hurt Ahluwalia. I am sorry if he is hurt by my actions."

Singh added that he was a greater Ram Bhakt than Ahluwalia. "I read Hanuman Chalisa daily, but chanting `Jai Shri Ram` in the House was not proper," he said.

When asked to comment on the Congress party`s remark that the scuffle was a staged exercise by both SP and BJP, he vented his ire at the party.

"Congress used us last year when it took our support during the vote of Confidence. Now, they have forgotten me and my party`s contribution in saving the previous UPA government," the SP leader said.

`Scuffle in RS unacceptable`

Political parties on Tuesday termed as "unacceptable" and "very painful" the scuffle in Rajya Sabha following the tabling of the Liberhan Commission report on the Babri Masjid demolition.

BJP Spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the entire fiasco in the Upper House was an "insult to democracy and was not acceptable".

"This is not only an insult of the country but a ridicule of our democracy. I am very sad and am feeling personally insulted," he said.

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Alvi said, "I condemn it. The elders were behaving like children. It is very unfortunate and very painful. The incident has lowered the dignity of the House".

Agency inputs

First Published: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 - 16:24

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