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Chidambaram and Pillai remarks on Ishrat echo in LS

The remarks made by former Home Minister P Chidambaram on Afzal Guru and ex-Home Secretary GK Pillai on Ishrat Jahan echoed in the Lok Sabha on Friday. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member claimed that the erstwhile UPA government had tried to settle scores with its political rival Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat.

Just before the House began discussing the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, Anurag Thakur referred to reports quoting Chidambaram as saying that Afzal Guru’s case “was perhaps not correctly decided” and Pillai as saying that the affidavit submitted to the Gujarat high court in 2009 about LeT links of Ishrat Jahan and her accomplices, who were killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004, was changed at the “political level”.

“It was an attempt to fix was a conspiracy to put in dock political rivals by the previous (UPA) government,” he said. “Who changed the affidavit (in the Ishrat Jahan case), the nation wants to know,” Thakur said.

Members of the Congress and the CPI(M) objected to the Chair for “selectively” allowing some members to speak.

Soon after the Question Hour, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said the Speaker has not expunged the “derogatory” remarks against party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi made by Thakur from the House proceedings.

On the contrary, words used by party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia have been expunged, he said.

Kharge said while it was Speaker’s prerogative to expunge remarks and statements, words used against the Gandhis should be removed from records as it would set a precedent where people will decide on “who is nationalist or anti-national.” He was supported by members of the NCP and Left parties.

MoS for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy said while Kharge was free to air his stand, since he has named Thakur, he too should be given a chance to speak.
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