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Verbal duel in Indian parliament over US temple shooting

Publication Date : 10-08-2012


India's Lok Sabha (Lower House) yesterday saw heated exchanges between the ruling party and members of the opposition over the Oak Creek tragedy, with the parliamentary affairs minister P K Bansal, accusing the Akali Dal of “baking the political cake on the funeral pyre” of the victims.

For the second consecutive day, the Congress president Sonia Gandhi was again in the forefront when she was seen signalling party members to be aggressive when the issue was raised in the House during Zero Hour by Harsimrat Kaur (Akali Dal), who criticised the Congress and the government for doing very little when the Sikh community was being targeted.

Kaur demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, lead a delegation of Sikh MPs to the US and the government carry out a global campaign to “enlighten” people abroad that Sikhs are not terrorists. Heated exchanges ensued when Partap Singh Bajwa (Cong) started speaking on the issue and Akali Dal members stormed the Well of the House.

This prompted M Thambidurai, who was in the Chair, to adjourn the House for over an hour. Kaur charged the Congress with being responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. “Whatever has happened is a tragedy for the whole nation and it is a matter of concern, said Bansal.

The minister said he had suggested that the Akali Dal should bring a calling attention motion on the issue which would have facilitated a response from the government, instead of raising it during Zero Hour.

In an apparent dig at the Akali Dal, he said their members should have been in the gurdwaras where prayers were being held for those killed.

Sardar Partap Singh Bajwa (Congress) said Manmohan Singh had immediately spoken to Barack Obama and was assured of all action against those involved in the dastardly act of violence.

The leader of the Opposition, Sushma Swaraj, said with the House going for a three-day break from tomorrow, the government should come out with all details of the incident and the measures taken to ensure there is no repetition of such gruesome acts of violence when the House reassembles.


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