Jul 18, 2014, 12:10 AM
News Code: 81241372
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Gaza attacks force Indian opposition to lock horns with Gov't

New Delhi, July 17, IRNA – As the Israeli aggression in Gaza continued, in Indian Parliament opposition parties locked horns with the government over debate in Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament).

The Government faced an embarrassing situation in the House as it found a debate on Gaza situation listed in the day's business even though it was vehemently opposed to such a move.

The newly emerged Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) slammed the Central Government for resisting a debate in Parliament. Slamming the Central Government for resisting a debate in Parliament on the Gaza situation, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said that its 'silence' has lowered the country's standing in the international community.

Government and Opposition parties Wednesday locked horns over having a debate on the Gaza situation with the ruling NDA alliance maintaining it could impact India's diplomatic ties with Israel and Palestine but Congress -led parties demanded a short duration discussion on Thursday, pti reported. After Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day over the issue, Opposition parties met Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and demanded the discussion.

Sources in the Opposition said they would be pressing for a short duration discussion on the issue tomorrow.

Azad issued a statement saying a discussion was accepted by the Rajya Sabha Chairman under rule 176 of Rules of Procedure and a 'Short Duration Discussion' was listed in approved business of the House for today after having given notice Tuesday.

'General practice is that business of the day is usually decided in consultation with the Government, and we believe that due process was followed in this case also,' Azad said.

After having a short duration discussion on this important subject listed for today, the government suddenly raised objections to it, and tried to duck the discussion, he said.

Resisting a debate, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she had come to know late about the listing of the issue in the day's business and had written to Chairman Hamid Ansari requesting that it should be dropped as 'we have diplomatic ties with both nations. Any discourteous reference to any friendly country can impact our relations with them'.

Azad, who is also the leader of Opposition in the Upper House, said that relentless persuasion of Opposition failed to cut ice with the government which was unwilling to have discussion on the grave situation prevailing in Gaza and West Bank.

'We want good relations with the entire world and are for peace and stability in West Asia, but we cannot accept the hostile approach of a country towards its neighbours like this. India has always believed in the policy of 'live and let live' and we want to continue with that stance,' he said.

He said stability of 'West Asia is very important for India' as many Indians are earning their livelihood from this region and therefore, it was necessary to have a discussion on this crucial issue.

The notices for the debate, which was listed today, was given by several Opposition members including Azad. Others were Jairam Ramesh, Viplove Thakur (Cong), K C Tyagi (JD-U), Narendra Kumar Kashyap (BSP), Mohd Adeeb (Ind), P Rajeeve, T K Rangarajan and Ritabrata Banerjee (all CPI-M).

Meanwhile, Government faced an Embarrassing situation in the Rajya Sabha today as it found a debate on Gaza situation listed in the day's business even though it was vehemently opposed to such a move.

The Opposition parties including Congress and Left pressed for a debate citing the listing of the item as part of business. This created a difficult situation for the government which tried hard through the day to wriggle out citing various rules.

The government, which has written to Chairman Hamid Ansari for disallowing a debate, wanted the Rail Budget to be taken first which was not agreed to by the opposition.

Resisting the debate, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she had come to know late about the listing of the issue in the day's business and had written to the presiding officer requesting that it should be dropped.

'We have diplomatic ties with both nations. Any discourteous reference to any friendly country can impact our relations with them,' she said.

Government sources said a 'communication gap' led to such a situation where the government was caught on the back foot as the Minister was not prepared for a discussion. Government also said that the debate could impact upon India's diplomatic ties with Israel and Palestine.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, 'We cannot take up Railway Budget unless the first item is disposed of.' He was joined by leaders of other parties who cited rules, saying even the Chairman has no powers to alter the business of the House.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said, 'In the larger interest of the country, I urge the House to take up the Railway Budget,' that went unheeded with opposition members.

Citing parliamentary rules, Naidu said there cannot be a discussion in relation to a matter which is not primarily the concern of the Government of India and that it shall not refer discourteously to a friendly foreign country.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said government business gets precedence and till Chairman's decision on the External Affairs Minister's letter is taken, government business has to be taken up first.

Meanwhile, slamming the Central Government for resisting a debate in Parliament on the Gaza situation, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today said that its 'silence' has lowered the country's standing in the international community.

'External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's refusal to debate the Gaza situation in Parliament today is highly disturbing. The government's silence at this crucial juncture violates the well settled principles of Indian foreign policy. It raises serious questions the dangerous direction in which the Narendra Modi Government appears to be taking the country's foreign policy.

'The Government's silence on the atrocities being committed in Gaza have lowered India's standing in the international community,' a statement issued by AAP said.

The party has also demanded that the nation should not resile from its earlier principled position on Palestine and the Government should come forward to give all possible humanitarian aid to Palestine.

'Earlier the UPA and now the NDA government, both have shown a gradual tilt towards Israel, but the latest action of the NDA government has hit a new low.

'The all-out assault by the Israeli military, especially the air force, on Palestinian civilians in Gaza, is a gross violation of international human rights norms and instruments including the Geneva conventions. While we deplore the killing of three Israeli settlers, this can be no excuse for the rampant killing of Palestinian civilians, with the toll rising above 200,' the party said in its statement.

Earlier on Tuesday, the continued Israel’s toxic war against the innocent Palestinians which has claimed, till Tuesday, nearing 200 lives, including the women and children, with more than 1200 injured, uproar was witnessed today in the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Indian Parliament) as several parties got together to demand a resolution to condemn Israeli raids in Gaza Strip.

Members of Congress, Trinamool Congress and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) staged a walkout after the government said it has no intention of bringing a resolution to condemn Israeli raids as any action by the government 'should not have any implications'.

Parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress, PDP, IUML, Left, SP, NCP and AIMIM created uproar as they were demanding that the government bring a resolution condemning Israeli action and articulate its voice against the killings in Gaza Strip at the United Nations.

Meanwhile, India is witnessing massive protests against Israeli onslaught on Palestinian people.

Several civil rights and Muslim groups in India have extended their solidarity in support of Palestinians as Israel is continuing their air strike on Gaza. From Delhi to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kashmir, etc different groups are staging protest outside the Israeli Embassy and consulates.

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