Rajya Sabha: Congress Stages Walkout As Chairman Denies Clarification To Opposition On Rajnath Singh's Border Statement

Rajya Sabha's Deputy Chairman Harivansh said since the matter was sensitive in nature, no clarifications would be allowed. He also cited several instances in the past when no clarifications were allowed in the House on sensitive issues.

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The Congress on Tuesday staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha after it was denied permission to seek clarifications on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's statement on the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Tawang sector.

Congress members said there was no point in sitting inside the House if they are not given clarifications. 

Members of the CPI, CPI-M, Shiv Sena, RJD, SP and JMM joined the Congress members in staging a walkout from the House.

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh on Tuesday refused permission to opposition MPs to seek clarification on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's statement on the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Arunchal Pradesh, saying clarifications are not allowed on sensitive issues.

"The opposition repeatedly asked for a debate on the Chinese transgression, but the government refused to allow it. The defence minister left without giving any clarification to the House. This is not good for the nation," Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters after staging the walkout.

He said there was no point sitting inside the House if the government refuses to give any clarifications.

He, however, said his party stood united with the armed forces. 

Opposition parties led by the Congress, which stalled proceedings in the first hour of the session and thereafter raised slogans demanding a discussion on the border clashes, wanted to seek a number of clarifications after Singh made a statement in both houses of Parliament.

Harivansh, however cited four precedents to say queries cannot be allowed on sensitive issues.

Opposition members, however, were not satisfied and continued to raise the issue for sometime, before the Congress led them to stage a walkout of the House. 

Rajya Sabha procedures allow MPs to seek clarifications on any statement by ministers.

The deputy chairman said the House will appreciate the valour and bravery of the Indian armed forces and their commitment to protect territorial integrity of the country. 

What did Rajnath Singh say?

In his statement on the clash in both house of Parliament, Singh said the Indian Army bravely thwarted an attempt by the Chinese PLA to "unilaterally" change the status quo in the Yangtse area of Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang sector on December 9.

Singh also said Indian troops confronted the attempt in a "firm and resolute manner", and Chinese personnel went back to their locations due to the timely intervention of Indian commanders.

Singh's statement came a day after the Indian Army said troops from the two sides clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Tawang sector and the face-off led to "minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides". 

RJD MP Manoj Jha said the deputy chairman cited various precedents, but asked how one can forget the 1962 Parliament session when the Indo-China conflict was debated in the House.

"This government lives in brazen denial of the Indo-China conflict," Jha charged.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said the MPs are being denied their parliamentary privileges. 

India-China clash at Tawang

Indian and Chinese troops clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 and the face-off resulted in "minor injuries to a few personnel from both sides", the Indian Army said on Monday.

The clash near Yangtse along the LAC in the sensitive sector took place last Friday amid the over 30-month border standoff between the two sides in eastern Ladakh. 

There were no fatalities or serious injuries to Indian troops in the scuffle, he said.

(With PTI Inputs)