Day two of the Budget session in the Upper House saw a stormy start. Rajya Sabha adjourned multiple times through the day over the suicide of dalit student Rohith Vemula from the Hyderabad Central University. BSP MPs raised slogans calling the government anti-dalit.
BSP chief Mayawati raised the dalit issue as soon as the session began. She demanded an answer from the government as to why there was no dalit member in the enquiry committee that is probing the suicide case. The government argued that they were ready for a debate and will answer BSP chief’s question appropriately, but only after a debate.
“We can discuss the matter now if the House agrees…we are ready for it…and we will answer appropriately also,” said Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
The protests grew louder as the BSP MLAs charged into the well of the House shouting slogans against the government and the RSS. Opposition members from the Congress, Left also joined in the ruckus and demanded an answer from the government.
“Mayawatiji wants an answer to her question…Will the government include a dalit in the enquiry committee,” asked CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury.
The House was adjourned multiple times as the Opposition insisted on an answer and the government ruled out the possibility of an answer before a debate in the House.
During the ruckus, HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Mayawati had a faceoff on the floor of the House. Irani said the opposition was using a “dead child” (Rohith) as “a political tool and strategy” and asked the opposition to start discussion on the issue.
Finally, before adjourning the House for the day it was decided that the issue will be taken up for discussion on Thursday through short duration discussion and calling attention motion.
Rohith Vemula committed suicide on January 17 after alleging discrimination against dalit students. He was suspended along with four other students for clashing with ABVP students. Vemula’s death has triggered widespread protests across the country.
On Tuesday, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi blamed the government for his death.