New Delhi, Mar 21 (PTI) Arch rivals CPI(M) and TMC today exchanged angry words in the Rajya Sabha over alleged strip searching of female student leaders in West Bengal.

Jharna Das Baidya (CPI-M), through a Zero Hour mention, raised the issue of four female student leaders of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) allegedly strip searched forcefully at the Alipore Central Jail last week.

Instead of treating the students leaders as political activists, they were subjected to “illegal torture,” she alleged amid protests from TMC members.

The raising of the issue was strongly objected to by the TMC with its leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy saying, as per rules, any issue that is not a primary responsibility of Government of India cannot be raised in the House.

An inquiry, he said, has already been ordered into the alleged incident.

Rejecting Roy’s objection, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien however said the line of demarcation between the Centre and the states is not sharp and is sometimes blurred with overlap of powers.

Overruling the objections, he said the issue at hand is welfare of girl students. “All of us are concerned about welfare of girl students.”

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) raised the issue of decreasing allocation to Sarva Siksha Abhiyan for universalising primary education.

The spending on that head, he said, has declined from 0.55 per cent of the GDP in 2014-15 to 0.47 per cent this year.

Also, not all demands put by the Human Resource Development Ministry has been accepted, he said. In 2015-16, Rs 36,331 crore was sought, but only Rs 28,258 crore was provided. In 2017-18, the allocation was only 57 per cent of the demanded Rs 35,000 crore was provided.

While allocation for higher education has increased, that for primary eduction has not followed a similar pattern.

He said it is an important issue and a debate should be allowed. (More)

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.