Last Update: Day 2 of the Budget Session witnessed debate and discussion on two of the issues which have gripped the socio-political atmosphere of the nation. Upper House of the Parliament began discussing the crackdown on JNU students and the suicide of Rohith Vemula since the morning session of the day. However, Lok Sabha began with question-answer session, and the debate surrounding JNU controversy and Vemula suicide began in the post-lunch period. Also Read - COVID-19 Impact: No Winter Session of Parliament This Year, Budget Session Likely in January
While Rajya Sabha was adjourned five times in the day before being called off, Lok Sabha functioned in a rather smooth manner with the Opposition indulging in debate rather than disruption. In the Upper House, BSP chief Mayawati set the ball rolling by demanding the immediate resignation of HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya for their alleged role in abatement to Rohith Vemula’s suicide. Also Read - New Parliament Building to Witness Creation of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', Says Modi After Laying Foundation Stone | Highlights
In the Lok Sabha, the debate was largely balanced. Congress’ Jyotiraditya Scindia launched a scathing attack against the Government, which was retaliated by BJP’s Anurag Thakur. BJD’s Tathagata Satpathy also made some intriguing points while condemning the action of Ministry of Home Affairs against the JNU students. Firebrand leader Asaduddin Owaisi grabbed headlines for yet another stinging attack on Government during the two-minutes of speaking time allotted to him by the Speaker. Also Read - Winter Session of Parliament Unlikely If COVID-19 Situation Doesn’t Improve In Delhi
The highlight of the day’s session was Smriti Irani’s hour long speech in the Parliament where she attempted to answer most of the questions raised against her department in Rohith Vemula suicide case. Irani also gave a long speech justifying the Government crackdown on JNU students. However, Congress, along with Left, JD(U), TMC and BJD MPs staged a walkout when Irani began speaking. Here are the complete updates of the day:
8:00 PM: Responding to the crackdown on students in JNU, Rajnath Singh said, “There is sense of rebellion among students. They have their right to express dissent. But they should not cross the line. As far as questions against me are concerned, let me assure you that no innocent child would be hounded or punished.”
7:55 PM: Home Minister Rajnath Singh appreciated the reply given by HRD Minister Smriti Irani on JNU controversy. “It is an eye-opener for the entire nation.”
7:50 PM: “I appeal to all the political parties that we should not turn education stream into a battlefield. Education should not be destroyed for political gains. Let us not impose ideologies on young minds,” Smriti Irani said.
7:45 PM: “Rahul Gandhi makes baseless allegations that BJP government has appointed RSS-linked Vice Chancellors as part of our agenda to saffronize the education curriculum. I would challenge him today. At least 16 VCs in Central Universities are those who were appointed during the erstwhile Congress rule. If anyone of them could prove that I have launched a saffronisation campaign in the education sector, I would quit public life forever.”
7:40 PM: Smriti Irani lambasted the erstwhile UPA Government for allegedly introducing an anti-Hindu propaganda in the nation’s education curriculum. Sixth standard students are taught that Christian minorities are persecuted by intolerant Hindu organizations in southern India. Fourth standard students are taught that Kashmir is a demonized land. The people of the valley are stranded in the conflict between India and Pakistan, Irani said.
7:35 PM: “Education should not be turned into political battlefield. An enemy at the gates is less formidable than the traitor inside,” said Smriti Irani referring to the JNU students as ‘traitors’.
7:32 PM: The Students’ Union had distributed pamphlets on the campus saying Afzal Guru’s hanging was judicial execution. Shehla Rashid, Rama Nega, Anirban Bhattacharya, Umar Khalid and Kanhaiya Kumar were part of the students who had prepared the pamphlets and distributed them, Irani claimed.
7:28 PM: Smriti Irani articulated reasons why the Government cracked down on JNU students Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and their associates. The permission form filled by Umar Khalid on Feb 9 shows that he had acquired permission to hold rally on that day between 5 – 7:30 PM. The reason specified was poetry event. Irani further recalled the anti-India slogans which were raised during the event which was meant for poetry recitation. “They said Bharat ke barbadi tak jang jaari rahegi….Kashmir ki azaadi tak jang jaari rahegi.“
7:23 PM: Responding to the allegations that BJP-RSS drove Rohith Vemula to suicide, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said, “The child had clearly mentioned in the note left behind that no one is responsible for his death.”
7:20 PM: “People who passed the judgement in Hyderabad University debarring the child (Rohith Vemula) from the University hostel were not appointed by this Government. It was formed in 2011 by the previous Government. I am pained by whatever happened.”
7:12 PM: “It is untrue to believe that I pay heed to the letters of Bandaru Dattatreya exclusively due to his being a member of the BJP. I respond to letters received by members of all political parties. Kerala CM Oommen Chandy, TMC MP Tathagata Roy, AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi, and many other have written to me and received replies,” Smriti Irani said.
7:10 PM: Smriti Irani slammed AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi accusing him of writing letters to the Ministry asking favours. “I have no relation with Mr Owaisi in terms of politics. But when he wrote to me asking for the appointment of a competitive lecturer, I looked into the matter,” he added.
7:05 PM: “Congress MP Hanumantha Rao wrote 6 letters to the HRD Ministry in the past 1 and a half month demanding action against whatever was going on in the Hyderabad University. I fulfilled my duty. If I receive complaints, it is my duty to act,” Irani said.
7:00 PM: Smriti Irani begins replying to the questions raised by Opposition during the course of ‘Rohith Vemula suicide’ debate in the House.
6:40 PM: Delhi East MP Maheish Girri, who was one of the first whistleblowers of the alleged anti-national activities in JNU, slammed Opposition MPs for supporting JNU students. “It is shameful that politicians are putting the national stake online for their petty gains. JNU has turned hub of anti-nationalism. As the lawmaker of the region, it is my duty to bring to light the anti-national propaganda circulated in JNU.
6:30 PM: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi rapped the Government in the fiercest manner during the debate. “This Government is rabidly anti-Dalit. They drove Rohith Vemula to commit suicide. Now, they are hounding JNU students. Kanhaiya Kumar is innocent.”
“What kind of nationalism is it when your Government indulges in talks with NSCN (IK), who were championing the cause of Naga self-determination for years? What kind of nationalism is it when you form coalition with PDP to form Government in Jammu & Kashmir? If this Government is not anti-nationalist, then why are those students of JNU accused of sedition? And most importantly, there is no concrete evidence to act on Kanhaiya Kumar and his associates,” Asaduddin Owaisi added.
6:20 PM: RSS’ intolerant Hindutva is the real agenda of the BJP Government, claims Rashtriya Janata Dal. “We will not let our Kanhaiya meet the same date as Rohith Vemula,” said RJD MP Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav.
6:10 PM: Venkaiah Naidu replies to questions raised on JNU issue: “Was Afzal Guru innocent? Was Maqbool Bhatt innocent? Was Yakub Memon innocent? By assuming such things we are disrespecting the sacrifices made by soldiers at the border. We disrespecting Siachen bravehearts. We are disrespecting Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. They demand Kashmir separation. If Kashmir was a negotiable state, our jawans would not have martyred their lives for it.”
6:05 PM: Venkaiah Naidu claimed that the activities in JNU were absolutely anti-national. “They are commemorating Afzal Guru. Who was this fellow? Someone who was found guilty by the honourable Supreme Court. They said Afzal tera adhura kaam, hum pura karenge. What do they mean by this? These people are blatantly proposing an armed rebellion against the Indian state. If this does not amount to sedition, then what does?”
6:00 PM: Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu responded to the allegations made against the Government in the suicide case of Rohith Vemula. “The suicides in Hyderabad Central University is a serious issue. Suicides in the University have been recorded in 2006, 2007, 2208, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The oppression of weaker section of society is a serious issue. We should not politicise it,” he said.
5:50 PM: NCP leader Tariq Anwar condemned the anti-India procession at JNU campus on February 9. But he slammed the Government for blindly cracking down on JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar without roducing any concrete evidence for the same. “Are they trying to repeat Rohith Vemula case in JNU?”
5:45 PM: LJP MP Chirag Paswan raises concern over the situation prevalent in the academia which forced Rohith Vemula to commit suicide. However, he slammed the students of JNU who raised anti-national slogans in the JNU campus. “If someone is anti-national, then our law is strong enough to eject such element out of our society,” he said.
5:35 PM: CPI(M) MP M B Rajesh replied to Venkaiah Naidu saying, “We are called anti-nationals. But remember we carry the same leftist ideology which was represented Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad. We stand against injustice and inequality. If that makes us anti-nationalists, then I’m proud to be one.”
5:30 PM: Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu responded to the series of questions raised by Opposition MPs. “We are not distributing certificates of nationalism. We respect JNU. But students there have termed Afzal Guru hanging as Brahmanical execution. This is not acceptable. They have raised anti-India slogans. Those who are guilty will be dealt according to the law. But the whole University cannot be disrespected,” Naidu said.
5:25 PM: CPI(M) demanded accountability of Government over Rohith Vemula suicide case. “What kind of justice could be expected from them? They insulted Rohith Vemula by debating his caste after his death rather than taking action against those abating his suicide,” said CPI(M) lawmaker M B Rajesh.
5:20 PM: Telangana Rashtra Samiti criticised the Government crackdown on JNU students. “Secularism is not a patent of Congress, whereas nationalism is not the patent of BJP. We should tolerate students’ dissent in a democracy,” said TRS lawmaker.
5:12 PM: Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav condemned the anti-national slogans raised at JNU. However, he criticised the ruthless crackdown launched by the Government. “We oppose the charges of sedition labelled against the students,” said Mulayam Singh Yadav.
5:07 PM: Government should crackdown on Islamic fundamentalists in JNU. They are spreading these extreme ideologies like separation of Kashmir, Shiv Sena said.
5:00 PM: “Article 370 should be abolished from the nation. Only then these Marxists would stop fueling Kashmir separation movement. They want seperation from India. They want freedom for Kashmir. They will never get it,” said Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant.
4:45 PM: Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant demanded strict action against leftist student groups Democratic Students Union (DSU), All India Student Association (AISA) and Student Federation of India (SFI). “They celebrated the commemoration of Afzal Guru, the person responsible for 2001 terror attack on Parliament. This amounts to sedition. This comes at a time when our jawans are martyred at Siachen, Pampore and Pathankot.”
4:40 PM: BJD MP Tathagat Satpathy lashed out at Home Minister Rajnath Singh for labelling Umar Khalid a Jaish-e-Muhammed terrorist based upon a fake tweet. “How can the Home Minister defame a young man in such a ridiculous manner? Wasn’t it befitting for you to verify your data before defaming someone? Who will repair the disrepute caused to his character if such dubious allegations comes to be false?”
4.30 PM: Bose said we have different visions on nationalism and even Rabindranath Tagore had a different take on it. Nationalism cannot be narrow, selfish or arrogant. Nationalism has inspired a generation of our freedom fighters. We need healthy debate on nationalism. Law on sedition is something that should be done away with immediately.
4.20 PM: Coming out against the BJP openly for the first time, Trinamool Congress MP Sugata Bose said that the Centre overreacted to JNU issue. The Left and TMC members were involved in a war of words after his comment on communist regime. The attack on students and universities undermines the freedom struggle and the idea of India. The Jadavpur MP also remembered the role of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in the freedom struggle.
4:10 PM: Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day due to constant disruptions. No conclusion could be drawn from the debate surrounding Rohith Vemula suicide conducted in the Upper House.
4:00 PM: Amidst repeated interruptions by the Opposition members, BJP MP ANurag Thakur continues the offensive against Congress and said the nation was paying the price for decision taken by first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He asked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi why he was siding with students who said Jammu and Kashmir was not a part of India.
3:55 PM: BJP leader Anurag Thakur also attempted to cast a negative light on Jawaharlal Nehru. “Many people sacrificed their lives for this nation. But who got the opportunity to lead the nation as first Prime Minister? It was Jawaharlal Nehru. Nation has given this (Nehru-Gandhi) family six decades to rule them. And now how is Rahul Gandhi paying back? By supporting those who use taxpayers’ money to propagate Kashmir secession.”
3:45 PM: BJP launched a counter-offensive against the Opposition over JNU controversy. “Rahul Gandhi visits JNU campus and shares the dias with Democratic Students’ Union (DSU). What iS DSU? DSU is that organization which has links with Maoist and naxal elements. This was revealed through a report filed by the erstwhile UPA Government,” said party leader Anurag Thakur.
3:40 PM: Anurag Thakur struck back at Congress on JNU debate. “On one side, Opposition hates PM Narendra Modi who worships this temple of democracy known as Parliament. On the other hand, certain political parties express solidarity with those who celebrate the attack on Parliament by Afzal Guru,” said BJP MP Anurag Thakur.
3:30 PM: Scindia further demanded the immediate release of Kanhaiya and said that the charges of sedition against the JNU students should be dropped at earliest. “The videos surfaced as evidence against them are doctored clips. No real evidence are against them. Yet the students have been lodged behind the bars. On the other hand, lawyers who are allegedly linked to the BJP have blatantly claimed that they thrashed Kanhaiya inside the prison. They said petrol bomb le ke maaruga. Jail me ghus ke maruga. Yet the police have not taken any action against them.”
3:20 PM: Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia recalled the statements made by Rajnath Singh in the aftermath of JNU leader Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest. “They want to close down JNU. Our Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the students are linked to Pakistan-based terrorist Hafiz Saeed. The accusations were based upon a fake tweet. And on being exposed later, he disappeared. No comments made to justify the baseless allegations.”
3:10 PM: “HRD Minister Smriti Irani wrote 5 letters to Hyderabad University VC to act against Rohith on dubious charges. Was this not blatant politicisation?” Jyotiraditya Scindia said. Rapping the Prime Minister, he added, “The Prime Minister who tweets on every small issues, he fails to react such ghastly incidents throughout the nation. Why was he mum on Rohith Vemula suicide during his Mann ki Baat?”
3:05 PM: Lower House of the Parliament begins debating the controversy surrounding Rohith Vemula suicide. Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia slammed the Government of politicising the internal matter within Hyderabad Central University. “Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has used words like anti-national, casteist, miscreant for a Dalit scholar who was an ideological opponent,” Scindia said.
2:53 PM: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 3:30 PM. Sitaram Yechury and Myawati kept asking whether the probe committee in Rohith Vemula case would include a Dalit member. Minister Smriti Irani responded saying, “The caste of the person does not determines his competency.”
2:40 PM: Rajya Sabha proceeding resumes. Mayawati alleged that Government is not serious to address Rohith Vemula and JNU issues. “They want to curb Rohith Vemula suicide case by clubbing it with JNU controversy. We will not let this happen. I have asked a very simple question: Would the proposed committee to probe Rohith Vemula suicide case, contain any Dalit member? But they don’t want to respond,” said Mayawati.
2:30 PM: “Those who have been looting the nation for six decades, they have gone crazy in the past 20-months because this Government is plunging all loopholes of corruption,” said Harsimrat Kaur, taking shot at Congress.
2:10 PM: Rajya Sabha adjourned. Deputy Speaker P J Kurien attempted to resolve the ruckus created in the House. However, lawmakers of BSP jumped into the Well and began chanting “Dalit virodhi yeh sarkaar, nahi chalegi…nahi chalegi.“
2:00 PM: Smriti Irani responded to allegations made by Mayawati that BJP-RSS were responsible for suicide of Rohith Vemula. “You should be ashamed of such politicisation of a young man’s death. The matter is under jurisdiction. Our Government is committed towards uplifting Dalits. Where was Mayawati when Dalits were oppressed under Congress regime?”
1:00 PM: Lok Sabha adjourned till 2:15 PM. In the post lunch session, Government will debate the controversy surrounding police crackdown on JNU students for allegedly raising anti-national slogans.
12:30 PM: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 2:00 PM. BSP MPs remained in the Well of the House and kept chanting “Dalit virodhi yeh Sarkaar…nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi.”
11:45 AM: Lok Sabha will debate JNU controversy at 2 PM. Parliamentarians of the Lower House will discuss the police crackdown on JNU students for allegedly indulging in anti-national activities will be discussed in the post-lunch session at 2 PM.
11:38 AM: Rajya Sabha adjourned again, merely 7 minutes after the House resumed functioning. Sitaram Yechury demanded Government to clarify their stand on Rohith Vemula suicide case. This led to ruckus in the House. “If the Government does not want to answer the questions and the House is losing order, the most I can do is adjourn the House,” said Deputy Speaker P J Kurien.
Skip to 3:00 in the video beneath to hear Mayawati’s scathing question against the Government over Rohith Vemula suicide controversy:
11:35 AM: “Why is the Government running away from discussion? Behen Mayawati raised a simple issue. Are they denying that ROhith Vemula was a Dalit and hounded to commit ton suicide. Government must answer. Government must clarify stand,” CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.
11:31 AM: Rajya Sabha session resumes. Opposition and Government square off over JNU issue. Communist Party of India (Marxist) lawmakers immediately began raising “We are JNU” slogans.
11:29 AM: BJD MP Baijayant Panda demanded Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to take strict measures to curb the issue of call-drops in the nation. The Minister replied, “We have undertaken technical measures. BSNL is undertaking the activity of spreading optical connectivity.”
11:25 AM: Question & Answer round is underway in the Lok Sabha. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is currently answering range of questions raised by lawmakers over connectivity programme in the nation.
11:20 AM: Rajya Sabha adjourned till 11:30 AM. BSP MPs stormed the well of the House, raising slogans against the Government. Mayawati kept on ranting that this Government is the most anti-Dalit regime ever. Deputy Speaker of Rajya Sabha, P J Kurien, adjourned the Upper House till 11:30 AM.
11:15 AM: BSP chief Mayawati demanded the immediate resignation of HRD Minister SMriti Irani and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. They are accused of pressurizing Hyderabad University Vice Chancellor P Appa Rao to suspend Rohith on dubious charges. “We want a committee to investigate the case only after the resignations are made. That committee should be headed by a Dalit,” she said.
11:10 AM: Mayawati accused BJP Government of driving Rohith Vemula to suicide. “This shameful anti-Dalit agenda of RSS is on display. They hounded Rohith Vemula to suicide. These saffron forces could not see a Dalit rising in the social stream. They will not allow Dalits to excel in their studies. They are responsible for the death of Rohith Vemula. We want justice,” she shouted in the Upper House.
11:05 AM: “Congress is equally responsible for oppression of Dalits. The Ambedkar Students’ Association was formed to preserve the fundamental rights granted to us under the Constitution. Thereafter, attempts have been made since the past many years to hound the students related to the Ambedkarite outfit.
11:00 AM: Parliament Session begins. Rajya Sabha begins debate on Hyderabad University scholar Rohith Vemula suicide case. Mayawati slams Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government of allowing its ideological parent RSS to impose saffron agenda on the institutions.
10:50 AM: Left Parties – CPI, CPI(M) along with Janata Dal United staged a demonstration outside the Lok Sabha against the actions taken by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) against the JNU students.
10:45 AM: Indian National Lok Dal gives adjournment notice in Lok Sabha over Jat reservation issue. The violence in Haryana due to Jat protest is not among the schedule of things to be discussed in Lok Sabha today. However, INLD had given adjournment motion demanding immediate discussion. (ALSO READ: Jat reservation protest turns into inter-caste riot: Sainis, Kumhar, Halwai killed; shops owned by non-Jats set on fire)
New Delhi, Feb 24: On the second day of the Budget Session of Parliament, Government had agreed to debate the controversy surrounding the police crackdown on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students. Opposition parties led by Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) had moved the motion to debate the JNU row and the alleged abatement to suicide of Hyderabad University scholar Rohith Vemula.
However, instead of being cornered by the Opposition, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aims to launch a counter-attack by exposing the alleged anti-national activities in the JNU, and the the political support provided to Maoist sympathisers and Kashmir secessionist advocators in the University.
The Budget Session is the most crucial phase of the Parliament where the Government would roll-out the annual Union budget and the Railway budget. Apart from revealing the fiscal roadmap of the country, the ruling party also aims to clear the two important pending legislations – the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Real Estate Bill.
The Parliamentary session began yesterday with the address of President Pranab Mukherjee to the joint session of the House. President stressed that the current Government is working towards achieving its agenda of Sab ka Saath Sab ka Vikaas. In a hour-long script read out by the Pranab Mukherjee, he highlighted several of the schemes introduced by Modi-government to create economic growth, jobs and financial security. However, the Opposition was disappointed with the President’s address. Congress leader Ahmed Patel said, “President should had also spoke about the negative environment prevailing in the nation.”