Rajya Sabha today witnessed heated exchanges between the Opposition and Treasury benches after a Congress member demanded dismissal of the Chhattisgarh government over alleged atrocities against tribals and locals, including rape and molestation, committed by security forces. I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu countered the charges saying Zero Hour cannot be allowed to be used to make sweeping statements and defaming forces who are doing a difficult job by staking their lives.
He said Chhattisgarh is one of the best performing states and a forward looking one.
Raising the issue of alleged atrocities by security forces in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, B K Hariprasad (Cong) said tribal women are gangraped and molested but no action is taken against the policemen involved.
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Cases have been filed against lawyers, NGOs and journalists who were trying to focus on the plight of the victims but the state government is yet to file a case against the police officers and men who were at the centre of the allegations, he alleged.
He demanded that the state government be dismissed.
This drew a sharp reaction from the Naidu, who said “Zero Hour cannot used be for condemning the forces.”
Police, he said, is undergoing untold miseries and doing a “difficult job” by “staking their lives”.
Amid counter charges by Hariprasad and some Congress members, he went on to allege that opposition members have sympathies for the naxalities and Maoists and condemnation of the forces will not be allowed.
As Left members joined the protest, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said blanket allegations will be expunged.
Tapan Sen (CPI-M) said no one was questioning the important role the forces play but atrocities on common persons and rights abuse are concerns which can be raised.
Nobody including a minister can raise a question over the right to raise such issues during Zero Hour, he asserted.
Kurien said for the misdemeanors of some individuals, the entire force cannot be blamed.
But as the Congress and Left members continued to raise the issue, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the killings of her party workers in Kerala should also be discussed.
K K Ragesh (CPI-M) blamed the RSS for the killings in the Kerala, with the remarks immediately expunged by Kurien.
Naidu also joined the chorus to say Kerala killings should be discussed in Parliament.
Kurien said the name of any organisation mentioned will be expunged and went on to state that killings were going on from both sides in Kerala.