NEW DELHI -- Both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings were disrupted several times on Tuesday over the alleged molestation and death of a teenaged girl in Moga in Punjab.
The uproar begun in the upper house of the Parliament almost immediately after the house met. Congress leader Ambika Soni was the first to raise the issue. "There is a complete breakdown of law and order in Punjab; Centre must intervene," she said. Other Congress leaders joined in, including Anand Sharma who called the issue "very serious".
This comes days after a teenaged girl was killed in Moga after being thrown off a moving bus by her molesters. Her family has claimed the bus was owned by the ruling Badal family.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said no notice was given to the chair for taking up the issue. "I am not saying anything about merit of what you are saying. All I have said is, please give notice," he said.
Meanwhile Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said it was a "very serious issue as those who are ruling the state are owners of the bus...Police action has been only against those involved in the molestation but owners of the bus have been left out."
He said the case is incomplete without the owners being booked. "There is anger in Punjab and people of the village did not cremate the body of the victim for three days. Keeping in view the anger in the state, action should be taken against the owners of the bus."
Members from other parties too chimed in support for discussion of the case. Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury urged the chair to allow the matter as it was important. "Because of the importance of the incident, please allow us to discuss," Yechury said. "How can a sitting Minister say that molestation is an act of God? This is a very grievous matter."
Others were not in support. This included Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) members, who lodged their opposition to taking up the issue for discussion in the house.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the state government has taken immediate action against the culprits and it was not proper to discuss the working of state governments in the house.
However, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) members, whose leader Parkash Singh Badal has also been implicated in the case, opposed the taking up the issue for discussion in the house.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, meanwhile, demanded imposition of President's rule in Punjab. "Life and property of women in Punjab is in danger... President's rule should be imposed," she said.
What followed was a ruckus between opposing members, and the house was adjourned at first for 10 minutes, and then till 12 noon as opposition members were unrelenting and moved into the aisles shouting slogans.
Uproar In Lok Sabha
The upheaval in the lower house was expected as Congress Deputy Leader Amarinder Singh had already announced his plans to move an adjournment motion to discuss the law and order situation in Punjab. Even though he had given notice for the adjournment motion, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed it, citing rules that did not permit an issue to be raised twice in the same session.
"Law and order situation in Punjab is bleak," Singh said in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, saying Orbit buses had been involved in such cases in the past as well.
Even as SAD members denied the allegations, Singh said the incident was a "culmination" of the "detriorating" law and order in Punjab.
"How does a state function? Your economy is in shambles. Your law and order is in a shambles". He said several incidents had taken place in the recent past which reflected worsening law and order in Punjab.
(with agency inputs)
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