AA Edit | Why suspend MPs? Come clean on security breach

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

A security breach in the Lok Sabha is an issue in and of itself, one that the government itself calls a “grave national concern”

Suspended MPs Manickam Tagore, V.K. Sreekandan, Derek O'Brien, T.N. Prathapan, Hibi Eden and others stage a protest during the Winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, Dec. 15, 2023. (PTI Photo)

The suspension of 14 members of Parliament — 13 from the Lok Sabha and one from the Rajya Sabha — for the remaining days of the Winter Session — this time under the pretext of misconduct when they were only seeking a statement from either the home minister or the Prime Minister on last week’s security breach — indicates the government’s want of respect for the Opposition — which is only doing its job when it asks it to fulfil its function of accountability.   

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leader of the Lok Sabha and defence minister Rajnath Singh assured the Opposition before the start of the current session that the government is willing to discuss all issues. A security breach in the Lok Sabha is an issue in and of itself, one that the government itself calls a “grave national concern”.

It is true that the security of the Parliament complex is looked after by the Lok Sabha secretariat and Speaker Om Birla has ordered a full-scale review of the arrangements. There is no doubt that the review will identify the gaps in the system and plug them; but that does not mean that the members, and the nation at large, have no right to seek an explanation from the government.

As it stands today, the six people arrested in the case come from six states, and they had been planning their operation for over a year. It appears that the government thinks that the nation has no right to know how it runs the intelligence apparatus which failed to nail such a plot. The youngsters who nonetheless acted in a violent way may not qualify for the definition of terrorist nor was their intention to strike terror in the heart of the common man but to call attention to pressing concerns of unemployment, inflation and murders in Manipur, but the fact is that their moves got successfully executed on the watch of a government led by a party that prides itself as champions of national security is alarming indeed. That party and the government owe it to the people of India to explain how such a long-duration conspiracy went unnoticed. Also, what is the government planning to do next so that a repeat of this break-in by people with more inimical designs does not occur again?

The government may feel that the Opposition is agitating disproportionately to the event but democratic norms mandate that it take it upon itself the job of explaining contentious matters.

Unfortunately, the Parliament has been witnessing the opposite of this behaviour on its part for quite some time now. It is quite bizarre that on some instances even the Treasury benches disrupted the proceedings in the recent past.

It is important that the government becomes realistic about fulfilling the people’s right to information. Running away from its duties or expelling Opposition members from the House shan’t resolve anything.