Opposition stalls Rajya Sabha on Gaza issue

A vociferous opposition led by Congress and Left parties Friday stalled proceedings in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour demanding immediate discussion on killings of innocent women and children in Gaza.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 18, 2014, 12:35 PM IST

New Delhi: A vociferous opposition led by Congress and Left parties Friday stalled proceedings in Rajya Sabha during Question Hour demanding immediate discussion on killings of innocent women and children in Gaza.

While the government said it was ready for a discussion on the issue on Monday, the Opposition wanted it to be held immediately, leading to two adjournments till noon.

Soon after the House mourned the death of 298 passengers in a Malaysian airline crash in Ukraine, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said a similar reference on the killing of innocent people in Gaza should have come from the Chair.
"United Nations has done it. We are a member of UN," he said, adding that according to the UN, 75 per cent of those killed are civilians. 46 per cent of those killed are women and children and 12 per cent are below 5 years of age.

On humanitarian grounds, a reference must be made from the Chair, he pleaded.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prakash Javedkar said while the issue of a reference on the killings in Gaza was a matter between Yechury and the Chair, the government is ready for discussion on Gaza on Monday.

"We are ready for discussion on Monday. On Monday at 12.00 O`Clock the discussion will take place," he said.
This did not satisfy the Opposition benches which said the discussion could be taken up today and the External Affairs Minister can reply on Monday.

Pramod Tiwari (Cong) asked why the government was running away from a discussion.

Citing the unanimous resolution passed by Parliament condemning US attack on Iraq during Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Yechury said India has strategic relations with United States and yet the issue was discussed and a resolution passed.

"Our opinion should be recorded. Please do not delay it further," he said. "Allow discussion now and let the Minister reply on Monday," he said.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government has agreed for a discussion on Monday and hence the Question Hour should be allowed today.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said there was small gap between what the Opposition benches were demanding and what the government has agreed to. "Let us bridge this gap," he said.

This did not satisfy the Opposition members who kept demanding a discussion today itself. Kurien then adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

When the House met again, similar scenes were witnessed with Congress, SP and Left parties demanding that a discussion on the Gaza be taken up today.

As Kurien took up the first listed question, Opposition members led by Yechury and Anand Sharma (Cong) shouted "no, no".

As Kurien`s plea for order in the House and taking up of Question Hour went unheeded, he adjourned the House till noon.