RS witnesses drama, Members nearly come to blows

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New Delhi, Oct 22 (UNI) Rajya Sabha today witnessed an unprecedented drama during Zero Hour when BJP and Congress members nearly came to blows on the issue of violence against the Christian community in Orissa even as the House was discussing developments related to Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The House was consequently adjourned till 1400 Hrs.

It functioned smoothly for about 30 minutes after the Question Hour when members, cutting across party lines, raised the issue of alleged "genocide" of the Tamil minority in the island nation by Sri Lankan Army.

After four members had spoken on the issue, Deputy Chairman Rahman Khan allowed Mr Shantaram Naik (Congress) to speak.

Mr Naik started speaking about the incidents in Orissa. However, as soon as he began his presentation, Mr Rudra Narayan Pani (BJP) objected saying the House was discussing the Sri Lankan issue. Mr Pani was joined by other members in the protest and all of them trooped into the well of the House.

However, the Deputy Chairman said the notice had been admitted by the Chairman and, therefore, he was allowing Mr Naik to speak.

Mr Naik was joined by Congress members in trying to shout down the BJP members.

At this point, senior BJP member S S Ahluwalia came to the well and started arguing with the Deputy Chairman. "How can you allow when there is a dispute?" he asked Mr Khan.

"Who has raised the dispute...I don't need your advice," Mr Khan retorted.

The wordy duel continued for about three minutes and in the midst of the exchanges, an angry Mr Pani came charging from his seat towards the Treasury Benches. He was, however, pacified by fellow BJP members and led him back to his seat.

The drama continued till 1245 Hrs. Sensing trouble, the Deputy Chairman adjourned the House till 1400 Hrs.

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