Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other top leaders of several Opposition parties held a march outside Parliament building on Thursday to protest the abrupt end to the Monsoon Session and manhandling of their MPs in Rajya Sabha.
“Today, we had to come out here to speak to you (media) as we are not allowed to speak in Parliament. This is a murder of democracy. Parliament session is over. As far as 60 percent of the country is concerned, there was no Parliament session. Voice of 60 percent population was crushed, humiliated in Parliament,” Gandhi told reporters.
Nearly a dozen Opposition leaders met in the chamber of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and then walked in protest from Parliament House to Vijay Chowk. Those who attended the meeting included Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Kharge, Sanjay Raut, Manoj Jha, and other Opposition leaders. Leaders from the DMK, the Samajwadi Party, the CPM and CPI, the Muslim League, the RSP and the Kerala Congress also attended today’s joint protest.
The leaders also called on Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu to lodge a complaint, and alleged “outsiders who were not part of Parliament security were brought in to manhandle opposition leaders and members, including women MPs”.
On Wednesday, several women Congress MPs alleged they were physically bullied by male marshals as they were protesting in the Well of the Rajya Sabha.
NCP leader Sharad Pawar said that in his 55 years of being in Parliament, he had never seen women MPs being attacked in Rajya Sabha unlike on Wednesday. He alleged that more than 40 men and women marshalls and security staff were deployed in the Upper House, including some who were brought from outside. “It is painful. It is an attack on democracy,” Pawar said.
“Without any provocation… outsiders, who were not part of Parliament security, were brought in to manhandle opposition leaders and members, including women MPs who were only protesting the government’s conduct, highhandedness and muzzling of their voice,” read a joint statement by Opposition leaders.
The leaders slammed the Narendra Modi government for its “authoritarian attitude and undemocratic actions”, and accused it of “deliberately derailing” the monsoon session despite the opposition having “unanimously conveyed (the need) to discuss important national issues” like the Pegasus scandal.