The Rajya Sabha today witnessed heated exchanges between treasury benches and Congress members over the alleged involvement of a BJP leader in the Jalpaiguri child trafficking case. Trouble began soon after Rajani Patil of Congress raised the issue of child trafficking at Jalpaiguri in which BJP West Bengal women's wing leader has been arrested.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked her not to take any name. She said 40 per cent of human trafficking cases in India are reported from Assam and West Bengal. As she was elaborating her point, BJP MP Rupa Ganguly suddenly stood up and claimed that personal allegations were being levelled against her. This led to heated arguments between members of the ruling party and the Congress. Amid the heated exchanges, Kurien said if the name of an MP has been taken "directly or indirectly" by which people can understand who it is meant for, will be expunged. The West Bengal CID had unearthed the child trafficking racket during raids at homes and nursing homes in Baduria area of North 24 Parganas district and Behala in the southern fringes of Kolkata and some other parts of south Bengal in November last year. In her special mention, Jharna Das Baidya (CPI-M) raised the issue of steep hike of Rs 86 in price of non-subsidised LPG cylinder. She said the "unprecedented" hike in the price has caused lot of hardship to consumers who have given up subsidy on LPG cylinders or those who have exceeded their annual quota of 12 cylinders and demanded that the hike should be rolled back. Senior CPI-M leader Tapan Kumar Sen said millions of central government employees are on strike today to protest against non-filling of vacancies, which has increased to 40 per cent of the total posts. He also said the government has "betrayed" the employees by not honouring the commitments to trade unions that the minimum wages recommended by the Pay Commission would be revised upwards.
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