NEW dELHI: A determined Opposition led by Congress and SP today forced two adjournments in Rajya Sabha in the pre-noon session over its demand for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reply on the issue of forced conversion.
Barring Tamil Nadu parties, the entire Opposition raised slogans and stormed into the Well, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the House first for 15 minutes and then till noon.
As soon as the House met for the day, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the government had yesterday stated that there was no order asking schools to remain open on Christmas Day for an essay competition on 'Good Governance' to mark former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's birthday.
He said he had a copy of the circular issued to schools and wanted it to be placed on the table of the House.
Soon Congress, SP, BSP, JD-U and TMC members joined in to raise statements by ministers and ruling party MPs, which the opposition members contended were vitiating the communal atmosphere.
They trooped into the Well shouting slogans "Dharam Ka Sauda Band Ko (Stop Selling Religion)" and demanding a reply from the Prime Minister.
Treasury benches objected to repeated disruptions with Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi saying the government was ready for an immediate debate on the issue but the opposition was running away from it.
Attempts by Kurien to restore order failed, forcing the first adjournment for 15 minutes. Similar scenes were witnessed when the House resembled.
Kurien asked Naresh Agarwal (SP), who had given a notice, to speak but as soon as he began to make his submission, treasury benches shouted him down.
This led to Opposition members trooping into the well shouting slogans.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government was ready for a debate but the opposition was running away. The protest, he said, was politically motivated.
Kurien told the slogan shouting members that Parliament was not for slogan shouting but for debate.
"Government is ready for discussion. Why don't you agree for a discussion," he said but the members kept shouting.
"Very unfortunate. I am so disappointed at unruly behaviour of members. You are elected to the House not to shout slogans but to debate and discuss... This is height of indiscipline... unbecoming behaviour," he said.
He asked Agarwal and Anand Sharma (Cong) to call back their party members but none heeded to his pleas, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till noon.
When the Question Hour began at noon, the Opposition members again protested and trooped into the Well.
Naresh Agarwal (SP) alleged that MPs and MLAs of the ruling party were creating problems in the country.
Amid din, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes.
When the House reassembled, Opposition members were on their feet once again even as the Chairman took up the scheduled business.
Anand Sharma (Cong) tried to put his point of view, but he could not heard in the din.
Ansari soon adjourned the House till 2 PM.