Rohith, JNU issue rock both Houses of Parliament
As expected there were fireworks in Lok Sabha on Wednesday as the raging JNU row and suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula was taken up for discussion, with opposition accusing the government of muzzling the voice of the youth and “mercilessly crushing” the principles of democracy.
To counter the opposition onslaught, BJP trained their guns on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for his “support” to those standing with hanged Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and said the House has to decide if it stands with those who attacked Parliament or those who laid down their lives defending it.
The debate, on the first working day of Budget session, saw accusations and counter-accusations, with both ruling and opposition sides underlining their credentials as “nationalists”.Initiating the debate, Congress’ Chief Whip Jyotiraditya Scindia alleged “undue interference” by Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya in Vemula’s case.
“Bandaru Dattaterya in his letter had called Rohith a castiest and an anti-national. Where in the world can you see a HRD minister writing five letters in any case,” he said.
Scindia also raised the issue of FTII, IIT Madras and JNU and said, “the government was trying to muzzle the voice of the youth.”
He also questioned the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying “He tweets on every other thing, but it took five days for him to speak on this matter.
JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar was targeted for his opposition to RSS and ABVP, the Congress leader said.
From BJP side, Anurag Thakur upped the nationalist pitch over the JNU issue and attacked Congress, saying for the party, “it is ‘family first’, ‘party next’ and ‘nation last’. For us, it is ‘nation first’, ‘party next’ and ‘family last’.”
He alleged that Rahul Gandhi went to the university to support such outfits which were named by the previous UPA government as “frontal organisations” for Maoists.
“I want to ask Sonia ji, why your young leader was standing with those who stand with Afzal Guru,” Thakur said addressing the Congress President who was present there. His speech saw protests from Congress members who raised a point of order, saying he was levelling “derogatory allegations” against Rahul, a contention rejected by the Speaker.
He alleged that when 74 security personnel were killed in a naxal attack in Dantewada in Chattisgarh a few years back, there were celebrations in JNU.
Thakur also referred to the Batla House encounter in which a Delhi Police inspector had died in an encounter with terrorists and said that a Union Minister belonging to Congress had then said Sonia Gandhi “cried” over the death of terrorists. “You did not go to the house of the martyred Inspector. Rahul Gandhi also could not go. But he went to JNU,” he said.