Opposition walked out from Rajya Sabha over India-China border clash

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Mallikarjun Kharge | Image : Twitter/Screengrab

Joint Opposition on Monday staged a walkout from Rajya Sabha as their demand to hold a debate over the recent clashes along the LAC between the Indian and Chinese forces at the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh was disallowed.

Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI), the Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Samajwadi Party (SP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena and the Kerala Congress were among other parties to stage the walkout when the Zero Hour was being conducted in the Upper House.

The opposition sought to raise the issue with Leader of Opposition (LoP) Mallikarjun Kharge saying nothing is bigger than the nation and sought a detailed debate on clashes along the LAC between the Indian and Chinese forces at the Tawang sector on December 9.

“They (China) are encroaching on our land. If we don’t discuss this issue then what else should we discuss? We are ready for discussion on this issue in the House,” said the LoP in Rajya Sabha.

Kharge said the Rajya Sabha Chairman has residuary powers on rules for admitting adjournment notices submitted by several MPs to hold discussions on the India-China border situation issue.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, however, asked the opposition MPs to not convert it into a classroom and rejected the demand of the Opposition. Dhankar said he can’t give attention to notices that fail to follow rules, and reprimanded MPs of Rajya Sabha for “more than 100 minutes of disruptions” of proceedings in the House.

Amid the din, the Chairman continued the Zero Hour following the Opposition staging walkout from the House. The Opposition MPs soon after held a press conference outside the House and attacked the government for fleeing away from holding a discussion on the India-China border issue. RJD leader Manoj Jha said bunkers and semi-permanent structures are being constructed on the LAC.

“We don’t have doubt on the capacity of the Indian Army but your (government) diplomacy is completely failed,” Jha said in the media briefing. AAP leader Sanjay Singh asked the question “why Modi ji’s government is fleeing away from holding a discussion on India-China border clash issue?” “Why are you (the government) giving business to China? Indian Army has sacrificed many of their soldiers and the Modi government is giving tenders to Chinese companies,” said Singh.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said “We are asking these questions not to the Army but to the government. We are all standing with the soldiers but the government should hold a discussion and inform about the current situation on India-Chinaborder. “The clash near Yangtse along the LAC in the sensitive sector took place on December 9 after the over 30-month border standoff between the two sides in eastern Ladakh. “On December 9, PLA troops contacted the LAC in Tawang Sector which was contested by own (Indian) troops in a firm and resolute manner. This face-off led to minor injuries to few personnel from both sides,” the Indian Army had said in a statement.

“Both sides immediately disengaged from the area. As a follow up of the incident, own (Indian) commander in the area held a flag meeting with his counterpart to discuss the issue in accordance with structured mechanisms to restore peace and tranquillity,” it had said.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh earlier had informed the Rajya Sabha that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops tried to transgress the LAC in the Yangtse area of Tawang Sector in Arunachal Pradesh and unilaterally change the status quo but they went back to their locations due to timely intervention of Indian military commanders.

Giving a statement in the House, the Defence Minister had also assured the Upper House that “our forces are committed to protecting our territorial integrity and will continue to thwart any attempt made on it”.