Press Trust of India

Parliament security breach- High-level probe on, Oppn should behave responsibly: Minister

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New Delhi: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Friday slammed the Opposition parties for disrupting Parliament proceedings over the security breach issue and said they should “behave responsibly”.

Talking to reporters outside Parliament, he said a high-level probe is on, as opposition MPs continued with their protest demanding a statement on the issue from Home Minister Amit Shah and a discussion in both Houses.

Asked about the opposition’s allegation that the Centre is trying to suppress its voice, Joshi said, “No one is trying to suppress anyone’s voice, it is their opinion. I want to say, come and debate. Two bills are listed today. On Monday, there are three important bills to replace the IPC, the CrPC and the Evidence Act. We want a detailed discussion. We have allotted 15 hours.”

In a major security breach on the anniversary of the 2001 Parliament terror attack on Wednesday, two men jumped into the Lok Sabha chamber from the public gallery during the Zero Hour, released yellow-coloured smoke from canisters and shouted slogans, before being overpowered by the MPs.

Amid demands from opposition leaders for a statement from the home minister on the incident, Joshi said both the Parliament buildings fall under the purview of the Lok Sabha speaker.

“Both the buildings are under the speaker’s purview. We are following the speaker’s order. A high-level enquiry is going on. Saying that we will not allow the House to function …” he said.

“Amid all this, they are adamant on not allowing Parliament to function. What is this? This a sensitive matter, they should understand it. They should behave responsibly,” he said.

BJP MP S P Singh Baghel accused the opposition of trying to politicise the issue.

“The opposition is intentionally not allowing both Houses to function. The speaker has written to the home Minister, the probe has been given to the DG of the CRPF. The probe will be carried out. What ideology they were influenced by, what was their intention — the home minister can make a statement only after these details come out. He will not make a statement with half information,” he said.

Opposition MPs meanwhile blamed the BJP-led Centre for the disruptions and questioned why Shah is not making any statement in Parliament, even as he has spoken to a television channel over the issue.

“The home minister is responsible for the Delhi Police, for the nation’s security. He is speaking to media channels outside. His principal accountability when the Parliament is in session is to the very House he is a member of. He should come and speak to the MPs. Had he done it, this crisis could have been diffused a very long time ago,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Raghav Chadha said the opposition leaders are ready to wait for the probe report, but the home minister should come to the House and make a statement on the incident.

“All MPs are very worried about this issue. If Parliament is not safe, what about the country’s security? Take the MPs in confidence, share the details of the probe. Did the BJP MP know the person, was he a part of the conspiracy or was he duped? There are many questions,” he said.

Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) said, “I believe not just the opposition, those on the treasury benches should also urge the home minister to make a statement. On one hand, they say they will get back PoK (Palistan-occupied Kashmir), Aksai Chin, and they cannot even protect Parliament”.

“The home minister can give an interview to a television channel, but cannot speak in Parliament. Who is degrading the institution?” Chaturvedi asked.

Karti Chidambaram of the Congress too spoke on similar lines.

“The House was adjourned on Friday quicker than Usain Bolt’s sprint. As soon as the chair sat down, he adjourned the House because we have been demanding a statement from either the home minister or the prime minister. In fact, I saw the home minister give a lengthy explanation on a private television channel. You can come to the House and say what steps they are taking, that is all we are asking,” he said.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal said no one wants to politicize the issue, but it is a serious breach which needs to be addressed.

“No one wants to make it a political issue, but if some unemployed youth can commit this act, last time terrorists had come here. What if they had bad intentions… Secondly, what if this MP (who authorised the visitor), if the youth were from a minority community, would they have the same stand? In 2016, an MP from Punjab made a video breaking all rules of Parliament security. He was suspended for a session. Because he is a ruling party MP is no action going to be taken?” she said.

In 2016, Bhagwant Mann, who was a Lok Sabha MP at the time, was suspended from the House during the Winter Session for making a video recording of Parliament’s security structure.

“It is a major lapse, questions have to be asked… You are throwing out those who are asking questions. This is a new norm, that if someone asks a question they will be thrown out… Is this democracy?” Badal said.


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