Jammu-Kashmir: Chaos In Assembly During Question Hour

Jammu-Kashmir: Chaos In Assembly During Question Hour

27 February 2012
Punjab Newsline
Bashir Assad

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly Monday witnessed unruly scenes with members from both treasury and opposition benches were up in ante first against Independent MLA Er. Rashid which was followed by noisy scenes from 4 BJP MLAs on the issue of settlement of West Pakistani refugees. As soon as house resumed its business after one day break, Er. Rashod stood up from his chair and wanted to know as to why his resolution on clemency of Parliament attack convict, Afzal Guru does not figure in the business and condemned the statement of National Conference President and Union Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah that Afzal Guru shall pay the price. Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone tried to convince the agitating MLA asking him to come to his office latter and know why his (Rashid’s) resolution was not admitted. However, Rashid continued to shout, “you are the custodian of the house, I want to know why you did not admit my resolution.” On this Speaker again asked the member, “come to my office latter I will explain”. Rashid shouted back, “explain it on the floor of the house” and marched towards the well of the house. This continued on one side and on the other side BJP MLA Jugal Kishore kept insisting speaker to listen to him in regard to the issue of settlement of refugees from West-Pakistan. Soon Jugal was joined by other members of BJP. Meanwhile Rashid walked into the well of the house to make his point. Jugal Kishore, in the mean time hurled some words on Rashid asking speaker to throw him (Rashid) out of the house. There was complete pandemonium in the house for some time when Panthers Party legislators who were latter joined by their leader Harshdev Singh and BJP’s Ashoke Khajuria shouted at Er. Rashid asking him to stop raising “anti-national issues” in the house. “He is just playing galleries, he should be thrown out of the house, yeh Pakistani boli bole raha hai” Harshdev shouted and said the case was lying in Supreme Court he should approach the apex court or to the president of India. On the other hand National Conference legislator, Nazir Gurezi joined the chorus and asked Speaker to throw Rashid out of the house. On this Rashid retaliated by saying, “You are enjoying power, you can do anything like killing people in the streets, I want to Know why Major Avtar Singh (accused in Advocate Jalil Andrabi murder case) is not being made to pay the price, why the killers of 120 people of 2010 unrest should not pay the price, why alone Afzal Guru?. At one point of time Speaker requested M Y Tarigami of CPI(M) and Choudry Muhammad Ramzan of NC to convince Rashid take his seat. But both legislators chose not to respond. This irritated NPP MlAs who rushed towards Rashid and were about to enter into a physical scuffle when Speaker ordered the marshals to take Rashid out of the house. However, when Rashid was being taken away by the marshals, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti stood up from her seat and shouted, “Sir you cannot throw him out like this, he is member of this house and he was not at fault.” Mehbooba continued, ‘your chief minister had said that the issue (Afzal Curu’s clemency) should be discussed in the house, it was only chief minister who made a comparison with Tamil Nadu Assembly (which adopted a resolution seeking clemency seeking clemency for convicts in Rajive Ghandi murder case), you are making honourable members as daily wagers on one hand and on the other hand your ministers are asking for gagging media”. However, when Er. Rashid returned, he wittingly on unwittingly took on PDP leader and blamed her for compromising the interests of the people. On this PDP MLAs turned angry and shouted at Rashid who was still in the middle of the well. Soon Harshdev lost his cool saying, ‘Rashid was not fit for MLA ship, he should be disqualified, he was speaking the language of Pakistan, he is holding the house to ransom’. Ashoke Khajuria of BJP soon joined Harshdev saying, ‘he (Er. Rashid) was taking money from both India andPakistan. In the meantime, Congress legislator Sharif Niaz stood up from his chair saying, ‘ball is in President’s court, he should approach Supreme Court or to the president of India and plead for clemency of Guru. Earlier when Speaker did not pay any heed to what Jugal Kishore was saying, BJP MLAs staged a brief walk out shouting slogans, Jammu virodhi sarkar hai, hai. Earlier when house met at 10am in the morning Minister for Health and Horticulture Sham Lal stood up holding a local news paper in his hand and said that ministers in coalition government were undergoing media trial, speaker should take notice of it and media should be restraint from publishing such stories against the ministers. Sham Lal was yet to conclude that Law and Parliamentary minister Ali Muhammad Sagar also joined him saying that a newspaper (Early Times) to which PDP leader Muzaffer Hussain Baig referred a day earlier in his discussion on corruption was also publishing what the minister termed “baseless stories” should be issued notice and the ‘ media trial’ should be stooped forthwith and direction shall go from that chair that media should disclose the sources. Minister for PHE and Irrigation Taj Mohiuddin also joined his colleagues on the issue and demanded action against the media. On this PDP MLA Nizamudin Bhat registered his protest while saying that fourth estate is a secret matter and one cannot compel the media to disclose the source. “ It is the privilege of the media not to disclose the source, however, Speaker pointing towards rule book said, they have to disclose the source. On this Nizamuddin said that press was accountable to the press council, if the ministers have some grievance, let them go to the press council. However, speaker while rejecting Bhat’s point categorically said, they are under my control, I will announce my verdict on this latter’ on which the media boycotted the Assembly session. PDP also walked out in support of the media.