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Babri demolition issue rocks Parliament again
February 25, 2003 17:22 IST
The Babri Masjid demolition issue rocked Parliament once again on Tuesday, with the opposition in both Houses seeking the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and Human Resources Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi and staging an angry walkout after the government firmly rejected its demand.
"The government does not interfere in these matters at all. The government has not done in the past. The government does not intend to do so," Law and Justice Minister Arun Jaitley told Lok Sabha after members expressed apprehension that their continuance in the Cabinet would hamper trial in the Babri Masjid demolition case.
The issue comes on the heels of the Central Bureau of Investigation filing a petition in a special court in Lucknow seeking permission to begin prosecution proceedings against Advani, Joshi and 19 others in the case at Rae Bareilly court.
"This government, headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, took over in 1998 and then again in 1999 and in the process of continuation of any criminal case against any person, be it a member of the government or otherwise, it has never interfered in that matter," Jaitley said.
Reminding members that a motion -- exactly on this question on the ground that a charge had been framed -- under rule 184 had been debated and voted down in this House one-and-a-half-years ago, Jaitley said, "Nothing has happened now. No circumstances have changed."
Congress Chief Whip Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, whose notice of adjournment motion was rejected by speaker Manohar Joshi, described Jaitley as the "government's lawyer in the House to manipulate the entire thing."
Demanding that both Advani and Joshi quit, Dasmunshi asked, "How do you expect the CBI, which is functioning under the prime minister, to be free and fair?"
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