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Congress demands statement from PM Modi

Published : Jan 4, 2018, 2:32 am IST
Updated : Jan 4, 2018, 6:41 am IST

At one time, a visibly angry Mr Kharge even tore some papers that he was holding some BJP MPs tried to disrupt his speech.

Mallikarjun Kharge (Photo: PTI/File)
 Mallikarjun Kharge (Photo: PTI/File)

New Delhi: Both houses of Parliament were rocked by the violence in Bhima-Koregaon, Maharashtra, on Wednesday with the main Opposition party, the Congress, charging the ruling BJP and the RSS of fuelling anti-dalit violence even as it demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi make a statement in Parliament clarifying his stand on the incident.

While the Lok Sabha was adjourned once before being finally adjourned for the day at 1:45 pm, the Rajya Sabha, where both Question Hour and Zero Hour were effectively washed out, went through three adjournments.

On January 1, dalits and supporters of rightwing Hindu organisations clashed during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune that had left a man dead. The Battle of Koregaon in 1818 is considered a victorious war by dalits who fought on the side of the British to defeat Maratha ruler Peshwa Baji Rao II.

Demanding the formation of a commission of inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge on the clashes, Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, accused the BJP-RSS of “conspiring to divide people” on caste and religious lines.

“The RSS and certain hardcore Hindutva outfits are behind the violence. They are trying to drive a wedge between the Marathas and dalits in Maharashtra,” said a livid Kharge during Zero Hour.

At one time, a visibly angry Mr Kharge even tore some papers that he was holding some BJP MPs tried to disrupt his speech.

“We demand that the PM, who shows sympathy for dalits during polls, should clarify his position inside Parliament on violence against Dalits… He has become a ‘Mouni Baba’ on Dalit issues,” Mr Kharge told reporters outside Parliament.

The Congress leader also accused the BJP government in Maharashtra of “failing” to control violence as it did not make proper arrangements in Bhima-Koregaon.

Terming the BJP and RSS as “anti-dalit”, Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, accused the government of “suppressing” the voice of the Opposition in Parliament as live proceedings of both Houses were not telecast.

“We had given adjournment notice in the Rajya Sabha for taking up the issue of violence against dalits in Maharashtra but our voice was suppressed and live telecast was stopped,” he told reporters.

Even on Wednesday, violence was reported during the Maharashtra bandh called to protest the January 1 incident as rail and road traffic was disrupted. On Tuesday too, violence in Pune had spilled over to Mumbai, with agitators damaging buses and disrupting road and rail traffic. 

Tags: bhima koregaon violence, narendra modi, mallikarjun kharge
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi