Concern in Rajya Sabha over Kishtwar violence


New Delhi: Members in Rajya Sabha on Monday voiced concern over violence in Kishtwar area of Jammu and Kashmir with Opposition saying the country's "sovereignty and integrity" was at stake and the matter should not be dismissed as an inter-community clash.
Initiating an impromptu debate in the House, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley alleged that the state government had failed to take appropriate measures to control the violence and warned that it should not be a repeat of 1990 when an entire minority community was compelled to leave Kashmir Valley.
"The violence in Kishtwar and adjoining areas involves the sovereignty and integrity of the country and should not be seen only as a clash between two communities," Jaitley said.
Comparing the events to the violence in 1990 in the Valley that had "compelled a community to leave", he said when the violence occurred last week, the state government officials had not taken enough measures to control the situation.
He said there are reports that a senior functionary of the government could be involved and demanded this aspect be probed.
"This incidence is not just an inter-community conflict," Jaitley said, adding that flags of another country were waved and pictures of a convict given death sentence displayed.
He sought to know why no arrest was made though hundreds of shops have been gutted and many people injured.
"People were crying out of helplessness," he said, adding, the situation was out of control due to which the injured could not be admitted to the civil hospital and were rushed to the military hospital.
When the House re-assembled at 12.40 PM, the issue of procedure again figured with members debating as to who should be allowed to speak first.
Several leaders like BSP chief Mayawati, Naresh Agrawal and Ram Gopal Yadav (both SP) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) also wanted to speak on the issue.
Kurien said normally the government gets precedence in speaking in the House but since he had already called the Leader of the Opposition, he should be allowed to speak.
He justified his decision, saying there was a convention to allow LoP to speak first.
Earlier, Kurien had said he would allow BSP member Satish Mishra to speak after Jaitley as he had to raise a "humanitarian" issue of killing of the son of a party leader in violence inKishtwar.
"You should understand our give an assurance that we will be allowed to speak after the LoP speaks," Mishra had earlier said.
Chidambaram can make his statement after that and members can seek clarifications, the Deputy Chairman said.
This triggered protests by some other members, who said they also should be allowed to speak before Chidambaram.
In view of protests, including from the ruling benches, Kurien said Jaitley could speak, which will be followed by the statement by Chidambaram.
However, Mishra protested this, saying the Chair had already ruled that BSP would get a chance to speak after Jaitley.
The debate continued, stalling the proceedings till 1 PM, when finally the Chair agreed to allow members to speak before Chidambaram could make his statement.

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