Ruckus in House: Legislators wrestle with marshals, Speaker adjourns proceedings

Pandemonium broke out in the State Assembly on Monday as opposition members repeatedly stormed into the Well and wrestled with marshals over the ban on sale of beef across J&K and ‘failure’ of the Government to rehabilitate 2014 flood victims.
Ruckus in House: Legislators wrestle with marshals, Speaker adjourns proceedings
Photo: Habib Naqash/GK

Pandemonium broke out in the State Assembly on Monday as opposition members repeatedly stormed into the Well and wrestled with marshals over the ban on sale of beef across J&K and 'failure' of the Government to rehabilitate 2014 flood victims. The Speaker Kavinder Gupta had to adjourn the proceedings twice in less than an hour after opposition members continued with the protests in the Well. 

Soon the House met this morning, National Conference and Congress members, joined by independent legislator Er Abdur Rashid, trooped into the Well.

Carrying placards which read "Stop exploitation of flood victims," the Congress members accused the Government of "failing to provide succor to the flood-affected people" and demanded "immediate monetary package for them before the onset of winter."

"Down with anti-people Government. Help the flood victims," the Congress members, led by Aijaz Khan, shouted.

On the other hand, National Conference members, led by senior party leader Ali Muhammad Sagar, attacked the Government over the beef ban issue.

"Down with Mufti and Modi; Down with RSS government; Down with Nagpur government," Sagar and other party members shouted repeatedly amid pandemonium in the House.

Three party members including Ishfaq Jabbar, Majeed Larway and Altaf Kalloo tried to force their way towards the Speaker's podium but were stopped by the marshals.

The trio climbed on the reporters table in the Well, forcing the employees including women, to run for safety.

Amid commotion, the Speaker Kavinder Gupta suspended the proceedings for 15 minutes after his repeated instructions on maintaining clam proved ineffective.

When the House met again at 10:30 am, the NC-Congress members led another joint attack against the Government.

"I will listen to everybody; go back to your places. There are five adjournment motions pending with me," the Speaker tried to pacify the agitating opposition members.

While National Conference had moved adjournment motion seeking why government moved the Supreme Court on beef ban issue "which is tantamount to surrendering Government's authority and lowering the stature of State legislature", the Congress had sought discussion on relief for flood victims and abolishment of tax imposed on helicopter services in J&K.

CPI-M legislator MY Targami and chairman PDF Hakeem Muhammad Yaseen's adjournment motion had sought discussion on situation arising out of enforcement of ban on slaughter of bovines.

"I disallow the adjournment motions," said the Speaker while quoting Rules.

At this moment, National Conference MLA Devinder Singh Rana challenged the Speaker's ruling. "Do you know your responsibility? You are acting like a member of the government. You are sabotaging discussion on it (beef ban) at the behest of the government," Rana pointed towards the Speaker. "Go and read the rules and then come back for a discussion. I know my responsibility. I don't need you to teach me anything," the Speaker responded to Rana.

Earlier Rana referred to Speaker's interview in Greater Kashmir on Sunday wherein he had said he would first go through the Supreme Court ruling on the beef ban issue and only then take a call on the anti-beef ban bills. Rana hit out at the Speaker saying: "This (Assembly) is a constitutionally-mandated institution whose honour and dignity you have to protect as the Speaker. But you have lowered its dignity. Your interview in Greater Kashmir yesterday where you have said that SC will decide the matter made this clear. But no court can deprive us of the power to legislate. You are looking for an alibi and excuse and only undermining the authority of House"

Amid ruckus, the three National Conference MLAs—Jabbar, Larway and Kalloo—again jumped into the Well amid sloganeering. Kalloo tore apart bills and other papers and threw them towards the treasury bench and Speaker's podium. Next moment, Congress legislators and independent MLA Rashid too stormed into the Well to join the National Conference legislators, thus outnumbering the marshals. A few members climbed on the reporters table again. The rest followed as the commotion broke out in the House.

The Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and his predecessor and leader of opposition Omar Abdullah, who too were present in the House, watched the unruly scenes silently. "Revoke the order for imposition of tax on religious pilgrimages," the Congress members shouted while referring to service tax imposed on helicopter service across J&K.

Amid sloganeering, the Speaker adjourned the morning proceedings for one hour.

RUCKUS AGAIN

When the proceedings resumed again, the NC and Congress members and independent MLAs stood up from their seats and accused the Speaker of "being biased."

In the meantime, NC legislators Kaloo, Jabbar, Larway jumped into the Well from their seats. They were joined by Usmaan Majeed of Congress.

As they climbed on the table in the Well and started raising slogans, the Speaker ordered the marshals to take them out of the House.

A group of marshals caught hold of Larway and dragged him out of the House. In the mille, the legislator fell down while he was being taken out, and one marshal too fell down. He was taken out by his fellow marshals amid complaints that he had got injured.

Next, the marshals surrounded Jabbar and caught hold of him and took him out of the House. Kaloo too was moved out of the House by the legislators. The protests by the opposition members however continued, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for the entire day.

Greater Kashmir
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