Rajya Sabha adjourned for day amid protests over troops in Bengal

New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha was on Friday adjourned for the day amid continuous protests by the opposition who alleged the government was “misleading” the house on the issue of the army “deployment” in West Bengal.

After repeated disruptions, as soon as the house began its sitting at 2.30 p.m. post lunch, it was adjourned again when the opposition members continued to protest.

The house was adjourned earlier around noon when the opposition members created a ruckus and refused to let the Question Hour continue.

As soon as proceedings began, opposition members protested again over the deployment of soldiers at toll plazas in West Bengal, raising the issue during Zero Hour.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged that the state government had no prior information about it.

“In West Bengal, the army has taken over toll plazas at 19 places. The state Chief Secretary, state administration or the state Director General of Police (DGP) were not given any information about this. We are unable to understand what is this,” Azad said.

“The army is sometimes deployed in emergency situations, but there is no emergency in Bengal. The law and order is alright. This is not a matter of concern for one state government or one party, but for the entire country,” he said, seeking a clarification from the government, and also a statement on the issue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Trinamool Congress member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, whose party is ruling West Bengal, and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati also joined Azad.

Roy said it was a central government attempt to instil fear, while Mayawati dubbed the move as an “attack on the federal structure” of the nation.

But the government played down the issue, saying it was a routine exercise done every year of which the state government was informed in advance and the opposition reading too much into it.

“This was a routine annual data collection exercise by the Eastern Command of the army. Earlier, it was planned for November 27-28 but was rescheduled to November 30 and December 2 on a specific request by Kolkata Police due to Bharat Bandh,” Minister of State of Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a statement.

He said the exercise was meant to identify the number of vehicles to be used during a national emergency.

The opposition members were, however, not impressed with the government’s response, and accused the government of “misleading” the house on the issue, and continued protesting.

“Modi teri Hitlershahi, nahi chalegi, nahi chalegi (Modi, you can’t govern like Hitler)”, they thundered and trooped towards the Chairman’s podium, forcing Chairman Hamid Ansari to adjourn the house till 2.30 p.m.

–IANS

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