Ruckus in House over civilian killings, Opposition stages walkout

Minister’s ‘wastage of time’ remark infuriates lawmakers, triggers pandemonium

Umer Maqbool
Jammu, Publish Date: Jan 3 2018 11:37PM | Updated Date: Jan 4 2018 1:38AM
Ruckus in House over civilian killings, Opposition stages walkoutPhoto: Mir Imran/GK

The legislature witnessed massive protests and uproarious scenes for the second consecutive day Wednesday over the issue of civilian killings by government forces in Kashmir, with the opposition members repeatedly storming into the Well and staging a walkout.

The speaker, who initially rejected the opposition’s adjournment motion for a discussion on civilian killings, agreed to allow it later. But the minister for parliamentary affairs Abdur Rehman Veeri charged the opposition with “wasting the precious time of the House”, enraging and prompting them to stage a walkout.

As soon as the assembly met this morning, all opposition lawmakers stood up to demand a discussion over civilian killings and other human rights violations taking place in Kashmir.

“Innocent people are being killed in Kashmir.  We need to discuss this issue,” NC lawmaker Mubarak Gul said, urging the speaker Kavinder Gupta to allow the discussion.

Gul was supported by legislators GM Saroori, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami, Hakim Muhammad Yasin and other opposition members.

“You should suspend the routine work and allow a discussion on the bloodshed in Kashmir,” Saroori urged the speaker.

Amid protests and sloganeering by the opposition members, the speaker told the opposition that they can take up the issue (civilian killings) during discussion on the governor’s address. 

“You (opposition) will get your time to put your viewpoint on the matter,” Gupta said.

Unsatisfied with the speaker’s reply, the opposition members continued with their protests.  At this moment, NC lawmaker Ali Muhammad Sagar asked the speaker to give his ruling on the adjournment motion.

“You should tell us whether you would allow or reject the motion. You should tell us whether it qualifies for a discussion,” Sagar asked him, and attacked the government over “worsening law and order and security situation” in Kashmir.

“The situation is very disturbing in the Valley. The army and the police authorities claim that they have ‘broken the back of militancy’ but at the same time militants carry out fidayeen attacks, which shows that the government is being misled by the forces,” he said.

Sagar also came down heavily on Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for “not allowing” a discussion on the civilian killings.

“You (Mehbooba Mufti) would create a ruckus in the House when a single civilian was killed during our rule, but you are not allowing us to raise the issue when a number of civilians have been killed during your rule,” Sagar said.

Amid anti-government sloganeering, the speaker disallowed the adjournment motion, prompting louder protests from the opposition.

“Why you have disallowed the adjournment motion?” the opposition members asked him.

At this moment, minister for parliamentary affairs Abdur Rehman Veeri accused the opposition of “wasting time of the House.”

“You are disrupting proceedings because you are issue-less. You should have given prior notice for the discussion,” Veeri told the opposition members, only to be quickly rebutted by the NC lawmaker Altaf Wani: “We have already submitted the adjournment motion for discussion on civilian killings.”

Shouting slogans “Ae Zalimo Ae Jabiro, Hoosh Mein Aaw”, the opposition NC and Congress legislators stormed into Well to press for their demand.

As the unrelenting opposition continued with the protests, the speaker, in a complete u-turn, announced that he would allow a discussion on civilian killings after the Question Hour.

The speaker’s decision failed to restore order in the House, with opposition seeking immediate suspension of the Question Hour to discuss civilian killings.

All the opposition members led by NC’s Devinder Rana once again stormed into the Well.

“This government has violated human rights of all the citizens of J&K. People of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh are unhappy with the government,” Rana shouted.

The chaos prevailed in the House for over 50 minutes, with the speaker and opposition sticking to their stand.

“I will allow discussion (on the killings) after the Question Hour is over,” the speaker repeatedly said, ignoring the opposition’s request for suspension of the Question Hour.

In the meanwhile, Abdur Rehman Veeri countered the opposition demand for the discussion.

“We allowed discussion (on 2016 killings) last year due to gravity of the situation then.”

He said that it is very difficult for the speaker to decide on which issue he should allow a discussion on.

“The opposition has submitted adjournment motions on different issues including civilian killings and power crisis. It is difficult for the speaker to decide on which issue he should allow this discussion,” he said, adding that the “opposition is issueless”.

Miffed by the minister’s remarks, the entire opposition staged a walkout from the House.

Later, the minister met the opposition members and urged them to attend the proceedings of the House, but they refused to return.

The deputy speaker Nazir Gurezi also appealed to the opposition to join the proceedings but to no avail.