Led by their leader Rahul Gandhi, Congress MPs on Monday demanded a parliamentary probe into the death of IUML leader and Kerala MP E. Ahamed.
The MPs demonstrated in the Parliament complex, accusing the Modi government of hushing up the veteran MP’s death in a hospital ahead of the annual Union Budget’s presentation on February 1.
Holding a placard that read “We are Ahamed Sahib,” Mr. Gandhi along with Congress colleagues staged the protest near the Mahatma Gandhi statue that faces Parliament.
Former Union Minister and Indian Union Muslim League leader Ahamed was declared dead hours before Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the union budget in Parliament on February 1.
The opposition has said that he died a day earlier, but the Modi government kept the news under wraps to ensure that the budget presentation was not disrupted.
“Ahamed was unnecessarily kept on life support when he had already expired. They wanted to hide this fact, they hushed up his death. That is why we are demanding a Parliamentary Committee to be formed to probe the matter,” Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told the media.
“Ahamed was one of the most respected figures in Parliament. If this government has no respect for such a person, then what can be said. Only a Parliamentary probe can bring out the truth,” he added.
LS disrupted after Opposition protests
The proceedings of the Lok Sabha were adjourned for nearly 50 minutes on Monday after an uproar by Congress and Left members over the handling of the death of E. Ahamed.
Amid noisy scenes, an apparently upset Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House till noon.
As soon as the House took up the Question Hour, Congress and Left members, mainly from Kerala raked up the issue of Ahamed’s death at RML hospital in New Delhi following a cardiac arrest.
The Opposition members have been demanding a probe into the manner in which the death of Ahamed was “handled” by the government, alleging that he had died soon after being rushed to the hospital, but it was announced much later.
When the Speaker disallowed the issue from being raised during Question Hour, the protestors said it was against democratic norms.
The members then rushed to the Well holding placards which read ‘Parliamentarians for dignified life and death’ and ’We are Ahamed Sahib.’
As the slogan shouting continued for a while, an upset Ms. Mahajan rose to say that such talk should not take place. She then adjourned the proceedings till noon.
Treasury and Opposition benches were largely empty on Monday with most members apparently concentrating on electioneering in Uttar Pradesh.
Trinamool Congress members were present in the House, but unlike on Friday, did not protest the arrest of their MPs in a chit fund scam by the CBI.
The members of the AIADMK, which is witnessing transition of absolute power to V.K. Sasikala, were also conspicuous by their absence.
Earlier as soon as the House met, Ms. Mahajan made obituary references on the killing of 8 Odisha Armed Police personnel in a landmine blast allegedly by Left-wing extremists and the death of 17 miners in a cave-in at a Jharkhand open cast mine.