MP alleges harassment by PM's security, Pranab apologises

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday apologised to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Dara Singh Chauhan who alleged that a member of his party was harassed by the prime minister's security personnel in parliament premises, an issue that led to the Lok Sabha being adjourned earlier

"I apologise for the incident. I express my regret. I agree... you are right that within this parliament, members are equal. I am speaking on behalf of the government," Mukherjee said in the house after it resumed following two disruptions.

Mukherjee, who is the leader of the house, said the government would work on "some institutional arrangement" so that such incidents were not repeated.

"I am not speaking individually as Pranab Mukherjee but I am speaking for the government," he clarified.

Earlier, members of the BSP and the Samajwadi Party protested against the incident in the house, demanding action against the Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel responsible for the alleged harassment of Rama Shankar Rajbhar.

Chauhan said that MPs were being "insulted daily" in the name of providing security to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"It is an insult to this august house. Are not we all equal in this house," he said, demanding that the government conduct a probe into the incident.

Mukherjee's tendering of apology brought peace to the house that had earlier witnessed unruly scenes, first during the Question Hour and later at noon over the issue as also on the plight of farmers in India.

When the house began the day's sitting, Speaker Meira Kumar called for Question Hour to be taken up. Some members of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) then rushed towards her podium, raising the issue of providing higher minimum support price (MSP) for cotton, and highlighting the difficult situation the farmers in Andhra Pradesh were in.

The speaker's repeated pleas to the protesting members to return to their seats went unheeded.

As the slogan-shouting reached a crescendo despite her requests, Meira Kumar adjourned the house till noon.

When the house assembled again, the scenes were repeated, this time by BSP members who caused uproar over what they said was misbehaviour and harassment of one of their colleagues by prime minister's security men.

With pandemonium breaking out, the house was adjourned till 2 p.m.

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