Parliament LIVE Updates: For the second straight day, the Lok Sabha continued to witness a ruckus as Congress members sought to raise various issues and shouted slogans. More than 20 members from the Congress and the National Conference trooped into the Well of the House during the Question Hour even as Speaker Om Birla asked them repeatedly to go back to their seats. Amid the uproar, five questions and supplementaries were taken up during the Question Hour.
The Lok Sabha took up the debate on pollution in Delhi, with Congress MP Manish Tewari opening proceedings. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar is expected to reply later in the evening. “It’s important that today this House gives a message to the nation that this (House), comprising the people whom they chose as their representatives, is sensitive and serious about this issue. It’s not only about air pollution; our rivers are also polluted today," said Tewari in his opening address. “When the pollution issue occurs every year in Delhi, then why is it that no voice is raised from the government and this House over this? Why do people need to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court every year over this issue? It is a matter of grave concern."
Earlier, Congress members raised the issue of withdrawal of SPG security cover for party president Sonia Gandhi, former party president Rahul Gandhi and general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The members were heard shouting slogans such as ‘please stop revenge politics’, ‘end dictatorship’ and ‘we want justice’. Some party members also shouted slogans in Tamil.
Birla told agitating members that they were not setting a good precedent by protesting in the Well. Members from the DMK were standing at their seats and on the aisle as they wanted to raise some issues but could not be heard in the din.
The Congress had today given an adjournment notice in the Lok Sabha on the withdrawal of SPG cover to the Gandhi family, even as party president Sonia Gandhi walked into Parliament alone as the lone CRPF personnel accompanying her in the car was stopped at gate 1 by security. The CRPF has taken over the security duties of Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul and Priyanka after the Union government withdrew their SPG cover.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which has a special VVIP security unit, has been asked to provide a ‘Z+’ cover to the Gandhi family on an all-India basis by the Union home ministry after the Special Protection Group (SPG) security was removed. The decision to withdraw the SPG cover given to the family of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991, was taken after a detailed security assessment, officials had said.
Meanwhile, the Capital was on Monday rocked by students of several universities coming together in solidarity with their JNU peers who have been protesting for over three weeks against the fee hike. The TMC, Congress and CPI want to raise the JNU issue in Parliament after students refused to back down from their agitation. According to the police, around 30 police personnel and 15 students were injured during the protest. While the students alleged that they were baton-charged by police, top police officials denied having used any force.
Delhi’s pollution crisis too will be taken up by the Lok Sabha today, with minister Prakash Javadekar replying in the House later in the evening.
Apart from this, the government has listed Citizenship (amendment) Bill, a key BJP plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries, for passage in this session. The Modi government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure as well but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties, which criticised the bill as discriminatory on religious grounds. The legislation seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan if they have fled their respective country due to religious persecution.
The government is also set to table Personal Data Protection Bill - which proposes to put restriction on use of personal data without explicit consent of citizen - in the current session of Parliament. As per the proposal, hefty penalties on entities found violating privacy of users will be imposed. The draft of Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 - which is based on the recommendations of the government-constituted high-level panel headed by Justice B N Srikrishna - restricts and imposes conditions on the cross-border transfer of personal data, and suggests setting up of Data Protection Authority of India to prevent any misuse of personal information.
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