New Delhi: The opposition protest in parliament on the issue of the government refusing a discussion on the clash with Chinese forces in Tawang continued for the fifth day on Monday. In Rajya Sabha, the MPs of several opposition parties including the Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Left parties, walked out in protest after chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar rejected all the nine notices under Rule 267, seeking a suspension of the business to discuss the issue, saying they were not in order
When the Rajya Sabha assembled, the Leader of Opposition and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that a discussion be allowed under Rule 267. However, the chair said all the nine notices he had received under the rule were not in order. The opposition voiced their resentment at not being allowed to discuss the China issue and staged a walkout.
‘China is encroaching our land, what else should we discuss?’
Later, Kharge was quoted as saying, “They (China) are encroaching on our land. If we don’t discuss this issue, then what else should we discuss? We are ready for discussion on this issue in the house.”
The Congress has been trying to get the Union government to discuss the situation arising out of the December 9 clash in Tawang ever since information on the incident became public on December 13. Several of its MPs have been regularly giving notices of Suspension of Business to seek a discussion on the matter. Today also, its MPs Pramod Tiwari, Syed Naseer Hussain, Jebi Mather, Ranjeet Ranjan and Dr Amee Yajnik had given notices in Rajya Sabha while, two others – MPs Manickam Tagore and Manish Tewari – had given adjournment motion notices in the Lok Sabha seeking a discussion.
‘Why the infiltrations at a time when trade is growing?’
In his adjournment motion notice, Tewari had demanded that the Union government discuss the attempts by China to infiltrate the Indian border. He also noted that this was happening at a time when the trade between the two countries was growing.
“I demand that this House suspends Zero Hour and other relevant rules relating to Question Hour and other businesses of the day to have a detailed discussion on the grave situation at the border with China in the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh,” Tewari wrote, adding that “this is the first physical clash between the two armies since August 2020 which took place at Rinchen La in eastern Ladakh.”
Stating that the defence minister has given a statement on the matter, he, however, added that “there are crucial questions that need to be asked.” Tewari asked why these clashes happened, first in Galwan and then in Yangtse.
Rahul Gandhi’s remarks flayed
Meanwhile, later in the day speaking in the Lok Sabha, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar objected to the use of the word “pitai” for Indian defence personnel by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Reacting to Gandhi’s remarks during a media interaction in Rajasthan in which he said in Hindi that “the press will not ask me anything about a country which has usurped 2,000 sq km of Indian land, a country that killed our soldiers in our country and a country that is attacking our soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh,’’ Jaishankar said, “our Jawans are standing in Yangtse at 13,000 feet defending our borders. They don’t deserve this. The word ‘pitai’ should not be used for our Jawans”.
In the wake of the Opposition questioning India’s response to growing incidents of infiltration by China at the borders, Jaishankar further said: “If we were indifferent to China then who sent the Indian Army to the border? If we were indifferent to China then why are we pressurising China for de-escalation and disengagement today? Why are we saying publicly that our relations are not normal?”