New Delhi, Dec 19 (EFE).- At least 141 opposition lawmakers have been suspended from the Indian parliament over the last two days for disrupting proceedings with noisy protests to seek a government statement on a parliamentary security breach last week.
A coalition of opposition parties, led by the Indian National Congress of the Nehru-Gandhi family, condemned the move, describing it as an attack on India’s democratic values.
“The suspension of a total of 141 opposition MPs from parliament reinforces our charge that an autocratic BJP wants to demolish democracy in this country,” INC President Mallikarjun Kharge wrote on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
Kharge alleged that the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi “does not want the people of India to hear out the opposition” while the parliament debated key proposed legislations that “unleash draconian powers and impede citizen’s rights.”
“Therefore, they have adopted this “suspend, throw out, and bulldoze’ tactic to destroy democracy.”
At least 92 members from both houses were expelled on Monday and 49 more on Tuesday, preventing most of them from participating in the ongoing winter session that concludes on Friday.
Dozens of suspended politicians protested on the Parliament House lawns as anti-government slogan shouting marked the proceedings inside the house by the opposition members still present.
Opposition lawmakers have been demanding statements from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah about the security breach in the chamber on Dec. 13 when two men jumped into the lower house sitting from the visitor’s gallery, shouted slogans and set off a smoke canister in the middle of a session.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Modi, has a brute majority of 290 lawmakers in the 543-member lower house.
The BJP has condemned the opposition protests, accusing them of obstructing the functioning of parliament.
At least six people have been arrested so far in connection with the security breach, police said. Police have claimed that those involved met online and planned the attack for a year and a half.
Modi told a Hindi newspaper over the weekend that the government was probing the incident.
“It is equally important to uncover the elements and intentions behind this. Solutions should be found with a collective spirit. Everyone should avoid dispute/ squabbling or confrontation on such issues,” Modi said in his first and only remarks on the security breach.
However, the arrests and the assurance by the government have not satisfied the opposition, which has repeatedly asked the prime minister and the home minister to speak in the house over the issue.
“The prime minister can give an interview to a newspaper. The home minister can give interviews to TV channels. But they have zero accountability left to the parliament, which represents the people of India,” Kharge said. EFE