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CNN-News18's Bastar Expose Reaches Parliament; Congress Demands CM's Removal

The Rajya Sabha on Monday 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.


Updated:February 6, 2017, 10:21 PM IST
CNN-News18's Bastar Expose Reaches Parliament; Congress Demands CM's Removal
A TV grab of the chaos in Rajya Sabha.

New Delhi: A week after CNN-News18's Tanushree Pandey exposed gross human rights violations and excesses by Chhattisgarh security forces and police personnel against tribal women, in various villages of Bijapur in Bastar, the Congress on Monday took up the issue in the Rajya Sabha that led to a heated exchange between the government and the Opposition.

Later speaking to CNN-News18, Congress MP from the state BK Hariprasad congratulated the channel for the Bastar report and credited it for the removal of controversial police chief SRP Kalluri in the area.

Raising the issue in the Upper House, Congress MP BK Hariprasad said tribal women were gangraped and molested but no action was taken against the policemen involved. The Congress member demanded dismissal of the Chhattisgarh government.

Information and Broadcasting 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.

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, the Congress MP alleged.

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”.

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 misdemeanours 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, but the remarks were 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.

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