Israeli aggression in Gaza continue, Indian Govt agrees for debate on Gaza in Parliament: Report

New Delhi, July 18, IRNA -- Yielding to Opposition demand, Government of India agreed for a discussion in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Indian Parliament) on Gaza situation on Monday, July 21. Althought the opposition was still not satisfied and wanted discussion at the earliest.

Israeli onslaught on innocent Palestinians in Gaza, since launched on July 8, have killed around 280 Palestinians so far, including women and children. While nearing 2000 have also been wouned.

The opposition contended that a 'wrong message' has already gone out to the world about the 'silence' of Indian Parliament on such a serious issue.

The issue echoed for last two days consecutively in the House which saw a deadlock as the opposition persisted with its demand for an early debate while the government resisted strongly, arguing that any discourteous remark could affect India's relations with Israel and Palestine.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj even wrote to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, saying that the notices given by opposition members for a debate are inadmissible but her contention was rejected.

Ansari, however, did not give a ruling in favour of immediate discussion even, saying a date will be fixed for it in consultation with the government.

After the ruckus ensured washout of the proceedings of Rajya Sabha with opposition parties like Congress, Left, Samajwadi Party (SP), Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) and Trinamool Congress remaining adamant, the government in the evening agreed to have a discussion on Monday.

The debate will take place at 1200 hours IST (Indian Standard Time) on Monday, pti quoted official sources as saying.

'The issue is very serious. It is so serious that it figured even in the Declaration of BRICS Summit attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A wrong message has already gone out to the world by the silence of the Indian Parliament so far,' said Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja while making a strong pitch for immediate discussion.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad also underlined the international importance of the issue while pushing for a discussion.

The issue had been mysteriously listed in Wednesday's business but could not be taken up as government opposed it.

The House saw a complete deadlock over the rules and procedures ever since it met for the day, leading to three adjournments before Deputy Chairman P J Kurien called it a day just before 1500 hours IST.

The Opposition maintained that since the debate could not take place yesterday despite being listed in the business, it should be taken up Thursday.

Meanwhile, Congress today lashed out at the government over its reluctance to have a debate in Rajya Sabha on the situation in Gaza strip, trashing as 'mystifying, farcical and comical' the reasons assigned by it and accused it of 'belittling' Parliament and democracy.

'If this kind of issue cannot be discussed, it will be a very sad day for Parliament. Congress unequivocally condemns the attempt of the BJP-led government to brush this important issue under the carpet and not allow even a modicum of discussion.

The reasons trotted out by the government for not discussing the issue are farcical and comical. They are untenable and unsustainable,' party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters.

Meanwhile, accusing the government of refusing to have a discussion in Rajya Sabha over the Israeli attacks in the Gaza strip, Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) today said the BJP was 'bending over backwards' to please Israel and the US by filibustering a debate on the issue.

'The only reason for the government to adopt such an attitude is that the BJP does not want to displease Israel and the US due to its political affinity with them. It is rather bending over backwards to please them,' senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury told a press conference here.

Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had signed a resolution at the BRICS Summit condemning the attacks, he said 'we see no reason why the government is stopping the debate.

'We think the government is filibustering a debate on the Israeli aggression and bombardment of the Gaza strip. The UN has also condemned it and soon the European Union is likely to do so.'

He said the issue was listed on the agenda of the Upper House yesterday but after agreeing for a debate, 'The government is now having second thoughts and trying to back out of a discussion.'

Referring to the government's argument that a debate on Israeli attacks would affect relations with friendly nations, Yechury said this was 'completely untenable' as India had friendly relations with Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh but 'we repeatedly raise issues' relating to these countries.

The CPI(M) leader said there was no rule in Parliament which would allow the government to withdraw an item from the agenda as the entire business of the House was decided only after the government agreed to it.

'No initiative has been taken by the government to find a way out but it is only trying to bulldoze their way through,' he said, adding such an attitude would 'not only undermine the independence of the Legislature but the Constitution itself.'

Asked about the impact of Israeli violence on India, he said there were fears that the conflict would soon extend to the West Asia where 'lakhs of Indians work and earn a living'.

While oil prices would shoot up further due to the conflict 'affecting all budget calculations', an estimated USD 60 billion worth of annual remittances from abroad would be hit and that would have a 'crippling effect' on the Indian economy, Yechury said.

As Israel widens Gaza ground offensive, Indian cities were witnessing protests against Israel, condemning the aggression and expressing solidarity with the innocent Palestinians.