NEW DELHI: The Congress on Friday moved a privilege motion against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for "misleading" Parliament over the death of 39 Indians who killed by terrorist outfit Islamic State after they were kidnapped in Iraq in 2014.
"Three Congress MPs from Punjab submitted a privilege motion to Rajya Sabha secretary general. We stated that for four years the country, the House and families of 39 victims killed in Mosul were misled. The government didn't take it seriously as these were poor people," Congress leader PS Bajwa said.
The party had issued a three-line whip to all its MPs in the Rajya Sabha asking them to be present in the House at 11 am on Friday in full strength and support the party's stand. The Congress has been seeking to corner the government on some burning issues like PNB scam, the Supreme Court's order on SC/ST Act and the death of 39 Indians who were abducted by ISIS in Iraq.
Congress MPs Ambika Soni, Pratap Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo had given the notice for moving a motion against Swaraj in Rajya Sabha. In the notice given under Rule 188 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Rajya Sabha, they intended to move the motion on the issue of Breach of Parliamentary Privilege.
According to the motion, Swaraj, along with her colleague Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh (retd), "deliberately misled" the families of the 39 Indians killed in Mosul, on the floor of Parliament and outside.
Between June 2014 and March 2018, the minister continued to state as a matter of fact that the individuals were not only alive but that the government was undertaking steps for their release, it read.
"On March 18, 2018, the Minister confirmed on the floor of Parliament that the individuals in question had been slain, thereby demonstrating beyond all doubts that the Government had lied to Parliament and nation on a consistent basis. This is a serious breach of Parliamentary privilege and stringent action must be taken against the members for their gross acts of negligence and dereliction of public duty," the motion read.
Accusing the central government of trying to suppress the Mosul tragedy, she said it did not talk about it despite several efforts to raise the issue. "We have continuously tried to raise the issue, but Swaraj always said she cannot share the sources nor any document and always claimed that they are alive. The government's efforts to put a cover on the issue led to misconceptions among the families of the deceased," Soni said, adding, "We have come to know from Iraq that they died at least a year ago, but our government has been so insensitive."
(With PTI inputs)