Border security more important than Food bill: BJP



Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Amid uproar over the killing of five Indian soldiers near the Line of Control (LoC), the UPA government on Wednesday tabled the crucial food Security Ordinance in Parliament, which promises to make available cheap food grains to nearly 67% of the country's population.

Minutes after the bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha, opposition MPs led by the BJP created a ruckus, saying that debate over border security is more important than Food bill, and demanded an explanation from the Defence Minister AK Antony for making contradictory statement over the LoC killings.

Addressing the Lower House, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said, "Why should we be satisfied by his statement in Rajya Sabha? Defence Minister should be called to the Lok Sabha."

Reacting to Antony's explanation in Rajya Sabha over the LoC incident, the Opposition leader said, "The Defence Minister should come to this house and apologise for his statement."

Swaraj maintained that discussion over border security is more important that food security.

However, with the Opposition unrelenting, the Speaker adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day.

Uproarious scenes prevailed in both the Houses of Parliament when it convened for the day this morning.

The BJP attacked the government over Defence Minister's failure to blame the Pakistani Army for the killing of five soldiers in Kashmir, and asked New Delhi not to have talks with Islamabad.

BJP members in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were furious that Antony blamed "terrorists" and people "in military uniform" for the early Tuesday ambush while an earlier army statement put the blame on the Pakistan Army.

Antony had on Tuesday told Parliament that "20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons in Pakistan Army uniform" were responsible for the killings near the Line of Control (LoC), which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

But an earlier Defence Ministry statement, which was withdrawn later, stated that a Pakistan Border Action team was to blame for the ambush that killed a Non-Commissioned Officer and four soldiers.

Launching the attack, BJP leader L.K. Advani said there was no justification for having talks with Pakistan if Islamabad was involved in the incident.

He said there was a need for the Defence Minister to tell the truth.

As the Defence Minister was not present in the Lok Sabha, the Opposition leader asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was present, to make a statement.

Swaraj also questioned the government over the differences in the statements from Antony and the defence ministry. "This is a grave issue."

Her colleague M Venkaiah Naidu asked if the Antony statement was linked to a possible meeting between Manmohan Singh and his newly-elected Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in September.

Speaking to reporters, BJP's Yashwant Sinha, a former foreign minister, described Antony's statement as "laughable".

Sinha said he had sent a privilege motion on the issue to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.