NEW DELHI: The issue of religious conversion washed out almost the entire day’s proceedings in the Rajya Sabha on Monday as the Opposition put up a united front and demanded answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Trouble started brewing when deputy leader of the House, Congress MP Anand Sharma, said that his party wants Zero Hour suspended to discuss the issue. “There is a very organised conspiracy by an organisation that calls itself a cultural body... Through its programmes of conversions, it creates an explosive situation in the country,” Sharma said.
This was immediately greeted by howls of protests from the treasury benches. CPM MP Sitaram Yechury too wanted a discussion on the issue saying no other House business was as important and demanded that the PM give assurance that no such things be allowed. “We are not merely a talking shop,” he said. Sharma, Derek O’Brien (TMC), D Raja (CPI) and other members joined in their demand to call the Prime Minister.
The government said it had allotted time for the issue on December 17, but the Opposition insisted that the PM should be present to give assurance that no such acts would be allowed in the country.
Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Opposition it was ready for debate on any issue, and asked them if they wanted a “total ban on religious conversion or forced conversion”.
But as the Opposition continued with their protests, not allowing the House to conduct any business, it was adjourned three times before being adjourned for the day.