LA Adjourned Amid Commotion

LA Adjourned Amid Commotion

19 March 2013
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Jammu: Pandemonium broke out in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday after Speaker Mubarak Gul disallowed the resolution seeking return of Muhammad Afzal Guru’s mortal remains. Independent legislator Er Rashid who had moved the resolution was assaulted by some members of Jammu based opposition parties for creating uproar over the issue. Coming to his rescue the legislators from National Conference (NC) countered the BJP and NPP members over their “non-parliamentary” behavior. Amid uproarious scenes the Speaker adjourned the proceedings after his repeated plea for maintaining calm fell on deaf ears of the agitating legislators. On Monday evening the Speaker had conveyed his decision to Rashid that his resolution was disallowed. He had explained the reasons for not allowing it. Soon after the House met this morning, Rashid demanded that Afzal’s mortal remains should be returned. He trooped into the well, raising the demand. “Resolve Kashmir issue and provide a balm to the wounds of Kashmiris,” Rashid shouted. However, Jammu based legislators of BJP and NPP countered him saying he should be marshaled out of the House for raising “anti-national and anti-constitutional” issues. It led to a verbal duel between Rashid and BJP-NPP members. “Afzal Guru is a martyr,” Rashid shouted at them. “You can’t suppress Kashmir issue.” “He (Rashid) is speaking against the constitution and the country, he should be thrown out of the House,” said BJP legislator Jugal Kishore. Unrelenting, Rashid, pointing towards NC MLAs, said: “You are the murderers of Afzal; you will be held accountable.” In a bid to cool the tempers, the Speaker said the state government has already made its stand clear on Afzal issue. “He (Rashid) is not talking anything pro-Pakistan. Every member has the freedom to raise issues,” the Speaker pointed towards opposition members. However, the sloganeering and counter sloganeering continued between Rashid and BJP-NPP members. Amid noisy scenes, Law Minister Mir Saifullah said Afzal Guru’s issue dominated the proceedings of the House for most of the time. He said state government had already written to the Government of India seeking return of the Afzal’s mortal remains. “As per rules there is no room for further discussion on it,” the Minister said, supporting the decision taken by the Speaker. But Er Rashid did not pacify and continued with sloganeering in the Well. Countering him some NPP and BJP legislators also trooped into the well. NPP legislator Balwant Singh Mankotia assaulted Rashid and pushed him back. Some other members of NPP and BJP joined Mankotia in an attempt to take on Rashid. However, the marshals surrounded Rashid in a bid to prevent BJP-NPP legislators from attacking him. Mankotia who was standing too close to Rashid in the Well repeatedly pushed him and joined by other members from Jammu, tried to drag him out of the House. The action by BJP-NPP members infuriated NC legislators including CPI-M’s MY Targami, and independent Hakeem Muhammad Yasin. They engaged in heated argument with BJP and NPP legislators over their behavior with Rashid. Soon NC’s Choudhary Muhammad Ramzaan and Nazir Gurezi joined them to counter the BJP and NPP. However, when Mankotia continued to head towards Rashid, Higher Education Minister Muhammad Akbar Lone, joined by Tarigami and Yasin joined the marshals in taking him out of the well, away from Rashid. But the bedlam continued and amid noisy scenes the Speaker adjourned the proceedings at 10:25 am. When the House met again, Rashid tried to raise Afzal issue again. However the Speaker asked him to sit silent, saying he would look into his demand. Tarigami intervened saying the issue would be discussed in the next Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting.