March 22, 2020


CPI(M) Parliamentary Office

THE second part of the budget session of parliament started on March 3. On the first day itself, the CPI(M) and other opposition parties unitedly sought resignation of home minister Amit Shah and moved adjournment motion on the Delhi riots, which claimed over 50 lives, in both the houses. Due to uproar over the matter, proceedings were paralysed and both houses were adjourned.

On March 11, Lok Sabha held a short duration discussion on recent law and order situation in Delhi. Participating in the discussion, A M Ariff said that after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Delhi had seen a similar situation. At least, 53 people died and over 500 injured in these riots. The democracy in our country is in crisis. The government is destroying the four pillars of our democracy – the Legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary, and the Media, which is the fourth estate, all are under threat. We could see all this in the recent Delhi riots. I had visited Shaheen Bagh before the riots started. It was a peaceful protest though three attacks with guns took place. The protesters did not go for any violence. I had also visited these riot places. I had talked with the Hindu and Muslim people there. They are saying that they had lived there peacefully. Workers came from UP and started the riots and Delhi was turned into a killing field. These attackers targeted a particular community. The places of worship of only one community were demolished there. So, this was a preplanned riot as happened in Gujarat in 1969 and 2002. The government has passed unrequired laws like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and others without having any discussion in the standing committees. It has passed 37 bills using the huge majority in the first session. By passing these bills, you have targeted a specific community and promoted animosity between the people through communal polarisation. This shows the disruption of the legislature – the main pillar of democracy. You are killing the secular nature of the constitution. Now, I will come to the second pillar, the judiciary. During the Delhi riots, when a Delhi High Court Judge ordered to lodge cases against the BJP leaders for their alleged hate speeches, this government had transferred him at midnight justifying that it only executed the earlier order and placed another judge who ordered not to take any case immediately against these riots. Through this act, this government had murdered the judiciary also. The people have lost faith in the judiciary. This shows the disruption of another pillar, the judiciary. Now, I will come to the third pillar, the executive. The current wave of violence in the National Capital is being deliberately fueled by central ministers like Anurag Thakur and other BJP leaders. The violence in Delhi is a colossal failure of the Delhi police. For two days, the Delhi police had not intervened properly and they also supported these rioters. We could also see this inaction in JNU hostel attack at midnight by people wearing masks and at Jamia Millia Islamia and at other places. This shows the disruption by the executive. Finally, I will come to the media. By saying that they highlighted the attack on places of worship and siding towards a particular community, the two Kerala media channels, Asianet and Media One, were banned by the information and broadcasting ministry. This shows the disruption of the fourth estate, the media. This riot is a state-sponsored one. So, a judicial and JPC inquiry is needed. Till the completion of the inquiry, the Home Minister should leave his position. He should resign. The central government should give necessary funds for the rehabilitation of the victims’ families. Cases should be registered against those leaders who paved the way to cause the riots.

Speaking on the matter in Rajya Sabha, Elamaram Kareem said the recent spate of attacks in Delhi is only a short trailer of the regime, that is, new private-public partnership, under which violence is outsourced to experienced goons. We don’t have a single word or phrase yet that can name this phenomenon because it is really the newest stage of ongoing projects, rather than a stand-alone event. The inaction of the home ministry, despite receiving intelligence reports on communal tension, made the situation worst. Adequate forces were not deployed even after news of riots was coming. When the hooligans were burning the whole of North-East Delhi, Delhi police was watching the show as mere spectators. Delhi police is under the central government but by the time police reached the spot, goons who had come from outside Delhi, escaped to their shelters. This reminds me of the Gujarat riots which took place in 2002. All the incidents and reactions by the authorities were same as that of Gujarat riots in 2002. Ironically, those two faces who were heading the Gujarat government then are heading the central government now. We cannot blame anybody if somebody thinks that the architects of Delhi riots of 2020 and the Gujarat riots of 2002 are the same. When our country became independent from the British Rule in 1947, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi did not take part in the celebrations of the independence, and, instead, he went to the streets where communal riots were taking place. But, when the people of Delhi were under attack, our prime minister was busy attending the feast in Rashtrapati Bhavan with the US president. That is the difference. “I am sorry to say that the government has got blood on its hands. So, you have to take stringent action against the culprits and book them as per legal provisions,” he said.

Speaking on the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha, K K Ragesh said that proposed code allows creditors to initiate insolvency resolution process against a defaulting company, but this bill discriminates against certain financial creditors, the homebuyers, in initiating the insolvency proceedings by imposing additional requirements. On his own, a homebuyer or a real estate allottee cannot approach the NCLT because of the provision of minimum requirement of ten per cent or 100 number, whichever is less. I am requesting the minister to please tell us the rationale behind this provision and inform as to why such kind of discriminatory clause has been introduced in this amendment Bill.  The Supreme Court had already acknowledged that homebuyers are also a financial creditor. They have got every right to approach the NCLT. And that right is being curtailed by this amendment. Thousands of such cases are pending before the NCLT. In fact, after this law comes into force, thousands of such pending cases are going to become infructuous. It is against the interest of homebuyers who are the real estate allottees. And it is in the interest of real estate mafia who are willfully defaulting and cheating the homebuyers. I don't know how these people can come up in a group of hundred. I don't know whether the names of homebuyers are mandatorily disclosed. Such provisions are not there. It is illogical. It is impractical. Because these people cannot come together. Many of them may not be disclosing their identities. And there is no mandatory provision for doing that. You are giving huge relief to the builders. So far as the homebuyers are concerned, what relief are you giving to them? He asked why the government, through this bill, is compelling the MSME sector to supply goods to a bankrupt company. It is going to disrupt and destroy the entire MSME sector in the country. I am requesting the minister to reconsider these provisions and protect the rights of the homebuyers also.

In Rajya Sabha, K Somaprasad opposed the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill. He said my Party has opposed since the beginning itself the whole exercise of handing over mineral resources of the country, coal blocks in particular, to private hands for commercial purpose as well. The present bill cannot be seen in isolation. It needs to be seen and understood along with the government's decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in coal mining by private players for commercial purposes. First, the nationalisation of the coal mining in national interests was sought to be reversed by allowing private sector to mine coal and other minerals for commercial purposes. Earlier, coal mining for commercial purposes was vested with the public sector Coal India Ltd. so that commercial mining of coal is done to maintain a balance between the household consumption and the industrial consumption since the coal is as well a basic industrial raw material for power, steel, fertilizer and other crucial industries. Thereafter, it was thrown open to private sector only for captive purposes to begin with and later for even commercial purposes. Commercial purpose means coal would be traded like other commodities and meeting the industrial requirement would not get any priority. Now, after allowing 100 per cent FDI in commercial mining of coal, doors would be opened for export of coal as well since mining in our country is the cheapest as per international standard. The present bill is an interim step for the finality of the destructive process in making coal a hotly traded commodity in international market totally unconcerned of its requirement in the domestic economy both for household consumption and more so for industrial consumption. Even now despite exploring all the alternatives, electricity generation in our country is still dependent mainly on coal and coal-based thermal power occupies almost 70 per cent of the country's total power generation. The present bill is aimed at attracting foreign players in coal mining with 100 per cent control which will be disastrous in national interest.  It was claimed that the bill is brought for optimal utilisation of natural resources like coal and other minerals which are also important industrial raw materials as well. Then, why commercial mining is allowed?