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14 Opposition MPs Suspended, Shah Admits Serious Security Breach

| Updated: December 15, 2023 15:54

As many as 14 Opposition MPs were suspended for the remaining days of the winter session of Parliament for disrupting the proceedings. MPs raised slogans and demanded a statement from Union home minister Amit Shah.

The two houses of Parliament were adjourned as opposition parties protested, seeking a statement by the government followed by a discussion on the incident. While expressing dismay over protests by opposition parties, Home minister Amit Shah said that breach of Parliament security was a serious security lapse.

In the upper house, TMC MP Derek O’Brien was suspended for the remainder of the session for “disrupting the proceedings of the house in utter disregard to the authority of the chair and having been named by the chair”.

Additionally, 14 Lok Sabha MPs were suspended, also for similar reasons. Those who were suspended were Congress MPs T.N. Prathapan, Hibi Eden, S. Jothimani, Ramya Haridas and Dean Kuriakose, Manickam Tagore, Benny Behanan, K. Sreekandan, Mohammad Jawed; CPI(M)’s P.R. Natarajan and S. Venkatesan, DMK’s Kanimozhi and K. Subbarayan of the CPI.

Initially, CPI’s S.R. Parthiban was also suspended, but parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said later that his name was removed since the MP was not in the house at the time.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh termed the security breach as “unfortunate” and called for all parliamentarians to exercise caution in issuing passes while opposition MPs moved to the well of the house chanting slogans of “shame, shame” and demanding a statement from the home minister.

The security breach occurred on the anniversary of the 2001 attack on the parliament, then housed in a different building. The two who entered the Lok Sabha had received their entry passes from BJP MP Pratap Simha and shouted slogans but did not attempt to harm anyone in the hall.

Amid protests from opposition MPs, Singh rose from his chair and said, “The incident is quite unfortunate, there is no doubt about it. You (speaker) took immediate note of the incident and ordered a probe. I believe that all MPs both from the opposition and the government need to maintain caution. So that passes are not issued to people who then go ahead and spread anarchy in the house. You have already ordered a probe and other precautionary measures that can be taken in the future will be done as well,” he said.

Amid concerns raised by opposition MPs over the security measures in the new parliament building, Singh said that such incidents had also taken place in the old parliament.

Rajya Sabha chair and vice president Jagdeep Dhankar informed the house that he had received 26 notices – including from leader of the opposition Mallikarjun Kharge – demanding suspension of business to discuss the security breach but said that he did not find merit in the notices.

Both houses were adjourned within an hour of proceedings starting. Earlier, opposition members of the INDIA bloc also held a meeting before the session started to discuss the security breach.

“The Modi government’s refusal to accept these perfectly legitimate and reasonable demands has led to the adjournment of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha today morning,” Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

When the Lok Sabha proceedings resumed at 2 pm, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi accused “some members of politicising” the issue, before moving a motion to suspend five Congress MPs.

He said that while he agrees that “the unfortunate incident” raised concerns about the safety and security of MPs, he said that there is a need to “appreciate the fact that the honourable speaker promptly held a meeting with all floor leaders and listened to their concerns regarding the security of the parliament premises.”

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