Members of Parliament and leaders of various Opposition parties marched in New Delhi on Thursday to protest against the curtailment of the monsoon session of India’s Parliament.
The lawmakers marched from Parliament to Vijay Chowk, holding banners and placards calling to withdraw the controversial new farm laws and accusing the government of the “murder of democracy.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who led the protest, alleged: “We have to come out here to speak to the press as we in Opposition are not allowed to speak in the Parliament. This is a murder of democracy.”
Gandhi alleged that the voice of 60 per cent of the country has been crushed, humiliated and that in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, women lawmakers were physically beaten.
“Parliament session is over, but as far as 60 per cent of the country is concerned, there has been no Parliament session,” Gandhi said.
The Opposition leaders demanded that farm laws should be withdrawn immediately and said they were opposing the curtailment of the monsoon session, which was scheduled to be held till Friday.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said: “The Opposition did not get a chance to present their views in the House and the incident against women MPs yesterday was against democracy as it felt like we [Opposition] were standing at the Pakistan border.”
Opposition leaders are likely to meet the chairman of the House, the Vice President of India, to complain about Wednesday’s incidents. Ahead of the march, the Opposition MPs held a meeting in Parliament.
The Parliament was adjourned sine die on Wednesday but the opposition alleged that when they were opposing the Insurance Bill in the House, the women MPs were manhandled by male marshals.
Congress MP Chhaya Verma, who is the Congress party whip, said: “I was pushed by male marshals and subsequently I fell on Phulo Devi Netam, who fell on the floor in the House while I was trying to make way.”
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had said: “In my entire parliamentary career, I never saw the way the women MPs were attacked today in the Upper House. More than 40 men and women were brought into the House from outside. It is very sad and painful, its an attack on democracy.”
Congress party chief whip Jairam Ramesh said: “Insurance Amendment Bill to privatize GIC was passed in the RS with a large force of security personnel present. The government refused to send it to a select committee, a demand by all Opposition parties including those close to the BJP. What happened this evening was worse than atrocious.”