Opposition suspends protest for a day to mourn Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others

TMC walks out in protest after Chair refuses to allow anyone to pay condolences after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement

The Opposition parties suspended their sit-in for a day in Parliament to pay tribute to General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others who died in a chopper crash in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday.

Thursday was the ninth day of the protest against the suspension of 12 of its Rajya Sabha members for alleged misconduct in the monsoon session.

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The decision to suspend the protest for a day was taken in the morning meeting of floor leaders of the parties chaired by Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge.

In the Rajya Sabha, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh read out a statement detailing the chopper crash. Deputy Chairman Harivansh also read an obituary reference. But despite demands, he did not allow any of the Opposition leaders to speak and the Trinamool Congress walked out in protest. “We have walked out in protest of the fact that the Chair did not allow any Opposition party to condole the tragic death of General Rawat and 12 others on record. Mourning is also monopolised by this regime,” TMC leader Sushmita Dev said.

The Congress and the other Opposition parties continued to be in the House.

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Speaking to reporters later in the day, Mr. Kharge described the events in the House as unfortunate. “We may have our political differences with the government but this was not a political issue. We wanted to express our condolences and pay tribute to the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff but the Opposition was not given the opportunity to do so. This is how the democracy is being run,” he said. He was accompanied by RJD leader Manoj K Jha and DMK’s TKS Elangovan.

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