NEW DELHI: Leaders of several opposition parties on Thursday marched in protest against the government on several issues, including Pegasus, farm laws and alleged manhandling of their MPs in Rajya Sabha, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying the voice of people was crushed in Parliament and democracy was “murdered”.

Top leaders of several opposition parties met in the chamber of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and then walked in protest from Parliament House to Vijay Chowk.

Those who attended the meeting included Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Kharge, Sanjay Raut, Tiruchi Siva, Manoj Jha and other opposition leaders.

They met Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and complained against the alleged heckling of MPs including some women.

Some union ministers also met Naidu and complained against the alleged unruly behaviour of some opposition members in the House on Wednesday.

The protest comes a day after the passage of bills in Rajya Sabha amid charges of manhandling of opposition leaders including some women MPs.

The protesting MPs carried placards and banners against the government that read ‘Stop murder of democracy’ and ‘we demand Repeal of anti farmers laws’.

“The Parliament session is over. Frankly, as far as 60 percent of the country is concerned, there has been no Parliament session because the voice of 60 percent of this country has been crushed, humiliated and yesterday in the Rajya Sabha (the MPs were) physically beaten,” Gandhi charged.

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He said the opposition was not allowed to speak inside Parliament and “this is nothing short of murder of democracy”.

The former Congress chief said the opposition raised the issue of Pegasus, farmers’ issues and price rise but were not allowed to speak inside Parliament.

“This is nothing short of the murder of democracy in this country,” he alleged.

Gandhi also trained his guns on the prime minister, accusing him of “selling the country to big businessmen”.

“For the first time in Rajya Sabha MPs were beaten up, after bringing people from outside,” he alleged and added that “It is the Chairman’s and Speaker’s responsibility to run the House”.

“Who is stopping the opposition in the House. I will tell you, India’s prime minister is doing the work of selling this country. He is selling the soul of India to two-three industrialists and that is why the opposition is not allowed to speak inside Parliament,” Gandhi alleged.

Echoing Gandhi, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut alleged that no Parliament session was held as the opposition was not allowed to raise issues of public importance.

Delhi | Opposition leaders march towards Vijay Chowk from Parliament demanding repeal of Centre’s three farm laws
— ANI (@ANI) August 12, 2021
“The way people were brought and deployed as marshals in Rajya Sabha. I felt like marshal law was imposed and I felt like I was standing at Pakistan border as I was stopped from going inside,” Raut said.

Tiruchi Siva said one has never witnessed such behaviour in Parliament in more than two decades.

Praful Patel said his leader Sharad Pawar has stated that he has never seen such shameful incidents in Parliament in his long political career.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had termed as “totally false” the opposition’s allegations that marshals manhandled their MPs and said one can check facts from CCTV footage.

The tumultuous Monsoon session of Parliament was on Wednesday curtailed by two days even as an anguished Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu broke down over the huge ruckus in the House equating the act of some opposition MPs to “sacrilege in temple of democracy” and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla saying he was “extremely hurt” by continuous disruptions.