Parliament members from Punjab who were holding a silent protest near parliament on Monday evening were jostled and allegedly manhandled by members of the Delhi Police. Part of the altercation took place in full view of television cameras. Eyewitnesses said the police had even hit the MPs on the legs with batons. The police later said they were trying to clear the way for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had unexpectedly left parliament ahead of schedule.
The 4 Congress MP’s from Punjab – were marching towards Rashtrapati Bhavan a short distance from the Parliament House in the evening, over the farm bills that have been creating an uproar in the Rajya Sabha for two days.
In a cellphone video of the incident, members of the Delhi Police could be seen asking the MPs to leave. An argument begins as the MPs refuse. The Delhi Police members could be heard said they had requested the MPs to leave. “This is not right what you are doing,” one of the MPs could be heard saying.
Asked about the issue, Delhi Police officers, on condition of anonymity, said they are mandated to provide a clear route for the Prime Minister. The MPs, they added, had not taken any permission for their protest either.
Opposition MPs and those from Punjab have been stirred up over the last two days following the passage of the controversial farm bills in the Rajya Sabha that has triggered huge protests by farmers in Punjab and Haryana and a few other states.
On Monday, eight opposition members were suspended from the house for the rest of the session for their behavior in house a day before.
Sanjay Singh and Rajiv Satav had climbed onto the Secretary General’s table at the centre of the house, Derek O’Brien waved a rulebook in front of the Chairperson and tried to tear it up and some members pulled out mics at their seats. A few members also tore up copies of the bills. At one point, marshals formed a protective wall between the Deputy Chairman and the protesting members.
The suspended members, who refused to leave, are camping out overnight near the Gandhi statue on parliament premises. Today, they plan to march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to press their request to him not to sign the two bills already passed in parliament.
The opposition members claim that the bills were passed in the upper house in complete contravention of the rules and accused Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh of partisanship towards the BJP. Their no-confidence motion filed against the Deputy Chairman — a first — has been turned down.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a press release)