The Winter Session of Parliament got off to a stormy start on Monday as the Opposition parties looked to corner the government on the situation in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
The opposition parties, led by the Congress and Kashmir’s National Conference, protested in the House over the prolonged restrictions in the Valley that have now been in place after more than 100 days and demanded that home minister Amit Shah answer for it in the House.
Slogans of ‘Release Abdullah’ and ‘Where’s Abdullah’ were also heard both inside and outside the House over the continued detention of MP and former Jammu and Kashmir CM Farooq Abdullah.
Abdullah has been held under detention at his residence in Srinagar since the Centre's decision on Article 370 in August and has been charged with "disturbing public order" under the stringent Public Safety Act.
Within minutes of commencement of the Question Hour, around 30 members from the Congress and National Conference trooped into the Well, shouting slogans and demanding the release of Abdullah among other issues.
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said it was an "atrocity" not to allow former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah to attend Lok Sabha proceedings.
“It has been 108 days today since Farooq Abdullah Ji was detained. Yeh kya zulm ho raha hai? We want that he should be brought to the Parliament. It is his constitutional right,” he said.
He also launched a blistering attack on the government for barring members of Parliament from visiting Jammu and Kashmir while allowing members of the European Union Parliament to visit Srinagar.
"Our leader Rahul Gandhi was not allowed to visit (Jammu and Kashmir), several MPs were sent back ... is it not an insult that we can't go there ... migrant labourers were killed, Army men are dying," he said.
Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy also raised the issue and said: "Sir... Dr Farooq Abdullah yahe pe nahi hain (Sir, Dr Farooq Abdullah is not here)". Lok Sabha speaker, Om Birla, replied: "Pahele naye members ko oath lene de (First let the new members take their oaths)".
The Speaker later said when Home Minister Amit Shah had informed the House in the previous session that Abdullah was not under detention, he was correct. The written information of his detention was received later by the Lok Sabha secretariat. He said now he has written information that Abdullah is under detention.
The issue was also raised by RSP leader N K Premachandran when he was given a chance to ask a supplementary question related to the Finance Ministry. "Farooq Abdullah is not in the House. The House is not in order. I am not in a position to ask any question," Premachandran said.