Govt statistics on Naxalism like a 'bikini' : BJP member

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New Delhi, Mar 20 (UNI) The government's statistics on Naxalism are like a bikini--short enough to reveal the details and long enough to hide the vital parts.'' This is how BJP member in Rajya Sabha, Gyan Prakash Pilania, described the government's statistics of Naxalism in the country.

Expressing serious concern at the alarming situation in Naxal- affected states, the BJP member said the menace should not be treated as law and order problem or dacoity or robbery. Otherwise, it could be taken as state subject with no authority for the centre to intervene. It should be treated as a threat to national security and sovereignty, he urged.

Mr Pilania had a verbal duel with Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who was present in the House, when he (Mr Pilania) quoted a Hindustan Times editorial comment on the Home Minister.

The Home Minister immediately refuted the comment and asked the member to authenticate it.

Mr P J Kurien, who was in the chair at that time, also asked the member to authenticate it.

Mr Patil took serious objection to Mr Pilania's statement.

Mr Pilania retorted that he would not continue as he was being ''threatened' by the Home Minister and his freedom of speech was being curtailed.

Mr S S Ahluwalia (BJP) came to Mr Pilania's rescue and told the chair that he could authenticate the Hindusstan Times editorial and present a copy of the newspaper to the Chair. He, however, objected to Mr Patil's statements ''threatening'' Mr Pilania.

If the editorial misquoted the Home Minister, why did not he issue a denial then and refute it, Mr Pilania asked.

Mr Patil--''I am not expected to reply to anything outside...If anything comes up inside the House, I will refute it.'' Mr Kurien--The Home Minister is within his right to repudiate (in the House).

Mr Patil--I do not want to enter into this 'tu-tu-main-main'.

The heated exchange of arguments continued for about 15 minutes following which Mr Pilania threatened to stop speaking.

''I stop under protest. I am here quoting from the editorial of a very important newspaper...I won't continue...I am feeling wounded...'' Mr Pilania said.

He, however, continued after the Chair urged him not to feel agitated.

Earlier the House, which was scheduled to meet at 1400 hrs., resumed the discussion at 1405 because of lack of quorum. However, after the discussion started, some members left and only between 14 and 18 members, including the Home Minister and BJP senior leaders Sushma Swaraj and S S Ahluwalia were present, for nearly 25 minutes.

Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, who was called to complete the quorum at 1405 hrs, left barely three minutes ater the discussion started.

UNI RB Vd Bd1711

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