Srinagar, Oct 9: After bedlam and three adjournments in Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, Speaker Mubarak Gul announced that he would summon former Army Chief General VK Singh to the House to seek his clarification on the serious allegations he has leveled against J&K ministers.
In an interview last month, the General had stated that JK Ministers were on the payroll of Army since 1947.
"I will summon him soon," the Speaker said after Law Minister and opposition PDP pressed for the same. However, he did not announce a date,
saying a special session of the House can be convened if need arises.
The drama over the issue unfolded after the Speaker attracted the attention of the House by stating that he wanted to make a statement on the privilege motion moved by National Conference on September 30 seeking that General Singh be summoned to the House.
"I want to inform the House that the privilege motion is alive and it lies with me. I have decided to write a letter to General Singh wherein I will ask him why he made statements against the JK ministers," Gul said.
"The House has already passed a unanimous resolution seeking a time-bound inquiry by the Centre into the allegations leveled against JK ministers. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has forwarded the resolution to the Government of India on the same day," he said.
Gul said that NC wanted that the General should be summoned to the House. "I have the powers to summon him and I can do that if the need arises," he said. "For that, I can even convene a special session of the legislature."
Speaking on the occasion, Law Minister Mir Saifullah said the privilege motion moved by NC demands that the General should be summoned to the House.
"I will write to him and ask him to clarify his position," Gul said. "And if needed, I will summon him. He may share more information. Options are open before me."
While the Law Minister continued to urge the Speaker that General Singh should be summoned, legislators of BJP and National Panthers Party raised slogans against the government: "Don't dictate terms to the Chair."
Joining the chorus, PDP raised the voice as to when the summon would be issued against General Singh. "He is a civilian now and there should be no problem in summoning him," said PDP legislator Peerzada Mansoor Hussain.
Chipping in, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said there is lot of confusion over the issue. "It is going the way like we first demanded plebiscite then entered into accord and then demanded autonomy. What stand have you taken? You (Speaker) and the government are speaking in different tones," said Mehbooba.
"General Singh is just a symptom of a disease as there are lot of agencies playing their role. I want to know what are you up to. Law minister says one thing and you (Speaker) are saying something else," Mehbooba said.
Intervening in the matter, Law Minister Mir Saifullah said that Speaker is the custodian of the House. "He is not the government," he said.
Irked by Law Minister's remarks, PDP legislators stormed into the Well of the House raising slogans like "We want voting." The PDP legislators screamed that if government and Speaker were not sure what to do, there should be voting on as to whether General Singh should be summoned or not.
Amid bedlam, Speaker adjourned the House for 10 minutes. He, however, joined back after 30 minutes. As the House met again, the PDP legislators once again stormed into the Well seeking voting on the issue.
"What voting. I have said I will summon him. Voting will take place in 2014 elections, not here," the Speaker said.
However, the PDP legislators continued to shout slogans: "We want voting."
PDP legislators Peerzada Mansoor Hussain first and then Javaid Mustafa Mir stood on the table of Assembly Secretary Muhammad Ramzan and raise slogans: "We want voting."
Making his point, Law Minister said that since the sense of the House was that General Singh be summoned, let the Speaker issue a summon against him.
The Speaker, however, said that even if he writes a letter to General Singh seeking clarification from him that also amounts to summoning him.
The PDP legislators were not satisfied with the Speaker's remarks, saying: "Tell us the date when you will issue it."
The PDP legislators were countered by Rural Development Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar. "Why are you playing to the galleries," he said.
In the melee, the Speaker stated: "I said I will summon him soon. Soon means soon."
Law Minister said that he was surprised to see PDP legislators playing politics. "Privilege motion is ours, we have been seeking that General should be summoned, I don't know why PDP is creating nuisance in the House," he said.
Amid ruckus, NPP and BJP legislators also stormed into the Well stating that nobody can dictate terms to Speaker.
"Speaker Sir, your ruling is supreme. Your first statement that you will write is sacred," they shouted. With legislators of entire opposition- PDP, NPP and BJP- in the Well, the Speaker finished the business of the day despite chaos and adjourned the House sine-die.