Is there any new low that opposition parties can stoop to, after this?

Opposition parliamentarians were at their disgusting worst on Tuesday when they did not allow Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to speak on the death of 39 Indians at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq. They demonstrated an utter lack of sensitivity and callousness over an issue that should have set aside, at least momentarily, the political oneupmanship.

It has perhaps never happened before that Parliament remained disruptive over a matter as grave as this. The Congress, the Left, and a clutch of regional parties, all having their own specific grievances, ensured that the Minister’s voice could not be heard, compelling Swaraj to refrain from making the statement. She later informed the Rajya Sabha that the Government had received irrefutable confirmation of the killing of the 39 Indians who had been abducted by the IS some years ago.

Surely, it ought to have struck the agitating members that their issues, while important, could have waited until the Minister made her statement. They set a sorry precedent indeed. Tomorrow, even an obituary reference may face the din of the House. The opposition parties cannot now wash their hands off the sorry episode by blaming the ruling BJP for the chaos. While they failed to maintain decorum in the Lok Sabha, they were more than willing to play politics outside, claiming that the Modi Government had misled the nation all these years by claiming that the Indians were safe. This is twisting the facts, since Swaraj had repeatedly held that she could not categorically state the Indians were dead unless she had reasonable evidence of the same.

Once that evidence came, through DNA matching, she informed Parliament. It is shameful that the Congress and other opposition parties are seeking to play politics over the death of innocent Indians. Instead, they should be asking the Government to take necessary retaliatory measures against the perpetrators of the crime, and extending support in any such effort. In no democratic country in the world, where the Government is faced with a tragic issue such as this, does the Opposition stoop to low levels.

There are enough matters on which political posturing can be engaged in, but there are also issues that must remain out of bounds. It is clear that the Opposition is far from keen to have matters of contention resolved, else why would they create obstacles even in the introduction of a non-confidence motion against the Modi Government, which some from its camp have proposed?

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