Protests rock parliament as Opposition demands debate on Tawang clash

| Updated: 13 December, 2022 12:18 pm IST
Opposition MPs continued to raise slogans despite repeated appeals by Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson Harivansh.

The winter session of parliament opened on a stormy note as Opposition members raised loud slogans demanding a discussion in the house on Tuesday over last week’s clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang.

Opposition members staged a protest in the well of the Rajya Sabha as the house opened for the day’s proceedings on Tuesday morning.

Congress MPs Manish Tewari, Syed Naseer Hussain, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Ranjeet Ranjan, Rajni A Patil, Shaktisinh Gohil, Jebi Mather, and L Hanumanthaiah have demanded a discussion in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the skirmish that left many soldiers from both sides injured.

Several members of other parties like Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha, AAP’s Raghav Chadha and AIMIM MP Asauddin Owaisi have also raised the demand.

In his suspension of business notice, Surjewala accused Prime Minister Narendra Modij’s government of being mute spectator to the Chinese aggression.

“The valour of our Armed Forces in Galwan Valley, Ladakh is well known. But China has brazenly transgressed into our territory since April 2020. The illegal and unprovoked Chinese transgressions upto Y junction in Depsang Plains continues till date. Similar is the state of Chinese transgressions into Gogra and Hot Springs area in Eastern Ladakh,” he wrote.

“Despite demand to ensure status quo ante as of April 2020, China has refused to vacate our territory and has been deliberately taking shelter behind the statement of our Prime Minister dated June 20, 2020, saying that no one has entered our territory,” he wrote in the notice.

The Congress MP claimed that over 300 Chinese troops came to Yangste area of Tawang on December 9 with a “brazen design to occupy our territory”. “Similar unconfirmed reports of Chinese transgressions are coming from Doklam area. It is also well-known that after the Doklam standoff in June 2017, China has constructed all-weather roads and bunkers, which can prove to be a threat to our security in the ‘Chicken’s Neck’ sector.”

He requested the Rajya Sabha chairman to suspend the business of the house for the prime minister and the government to make a statement on the issue.

Meanwhile, defence minister reportedly held a meeting with the tri service chiefs — Army chief General Manoj Pande, Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar and Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari to discuss the recent clash.

Singh is slated to make a statement in parliament on the issue.

The December 9 clashes between the Indian and Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh is the first in last two year since skirmishes at Eastern Ladakh. One of  the worst clashes broke out at Galwan Valley in June 2020, resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and death or injuries to more than 40 Chinese soldiers.

Since then, the Congress has repeatedly demanded that the government reveal details of Chinese incursions and constructions near the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The grand old party has also criticized the government’s handling of the clashes.

On Monday, Congress president and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in a series of tweets hit out at the government, demanding transparency on the Chinese incursions.

“Modi Government should be honest about the Chinese transgressions and the construction at all points near the LAC, since April 2020. Government needs to take the nation into confidence by discussing this issue in Parliament,” he wrote on Twitter.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in January this year had demanded that the prime minister breaks his silence on the Galwan clash.

Even during his Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul again made a reference to the Galwan incident and accused the Central government of “insulting” the sacrifice of Colonel Santosh Babu, who died during a combat with the Chinese troops, by lying about China intruding into the Indian territory.

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