Condemning the ongoing violence in Gaza, Opposition parties on Monday pressed for the adoption of a resolution in the Rajya Sabha. Speakers across parties demanded that India should suspend military purchases from Israel. The government, however, held that the rule under which the discussion was initiated didnot permit either a resolution or voting. The Opposition walked out in protest.
Initiating the short duration discussion, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Az-ad attacked the government saying it was regrettable that New Delhi did not raise its voice against the “massacre”. “We took seven days to decide whether to discuss the issue. We should have been the first to raise the voice,” he said.
In her reply, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj pointed out that India’s relations with Palestine and Israel are a legacy of the Congress governments of the past. She refuted the insinuation of there being a religious angle in the government’s stand.
Azad demanded that the House pass a resolution condemning the attacks and calling for an end to violence. CPM’s Sitaram Yechury called for suspension of military purchases from Israel saying, “India cannot be a party to this genocide.”
JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav and K C Tyagi too targeted the government. “Palestine was one of the important issues during our freedom struggle. It will be difficult to run the country, if you leave such issues,” Yadav said.
Ahmed Hassan of the TMC said the government sho-uld raise the issue at the UN.
AIAMDK’s V Maitreyan said his party will support the demand for a resolution if a similar resolution condemning the violence against Sri Lankan Tamils is also brought. DMK’s Kanimozhi said the Gaza issue should be a precedent that the House does take up the cause of innocent victims even if they are in another country.
SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav too spoke about the Nehruvian policy of siding with Palestine. BSP’s Brajesh Pathak said all efforts should be made to end the violence in Gaza.
The discussion was extended by an hour with the consent of the House. Stating that India should be on the side of Palestine, D Raja (CPI) called for a “categorical stand condemning Israel.” Tarun Vijay (BJP) said the House could not be “more Arab than the Arabs” because even the Arab world is divided about Hamas.