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Pandemonium in J&K assembly over Shopian case

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 27, 2009 18:56 IST
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Pandemonium broke out in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly on Monday over the Shopian case with opposition People's Democratic Party members trooping into the well of the House and trying to snatch the Speaker's microphone.

Trouble started shortly after the House assembled today morning, on the opening day of the budget session, with National Conference member Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan trying to draw the attention of Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone to an 'important issue', which was objected to by the PDP members.

They trooped into the well of the House, saying the Shopian rape and murder case was more important than anything else. Led by their leader Mehbooba Mufti, the 21-member PDP group raised slogans like "Shopian kay katiloon ko pesh karo" (bring to book the culprits in the Shopian case).

As Mehbooba tried to snatch the mike of the Speaker, Lone directed the watch and ward staff to remove the agitating PDP members from the House. The watch and ward staff assisted by security personnel escorted the members out of the House.

Before directing the eviction of the PDP members, the Speaker, pointing towards Mehbooba, said, "I name you, please take your seats."

While the rest of the PDP members were escorted out, Mehbooba resisted for a few minutes, to which Lone said, "Take this lady out."

Taking a strong exception to the behaviour of PDP members, the Speaker said he will not allow the House to function at the 'sweet will' of treasury or opposition benches.In the meantime, the three-member National Panthers Party also jumped into the well of the House and started raising slogans. They too were taken out of the House by the watch and ward staff.

Earlier, when the House met at 10 am, leader of the 11-member Bharatiya Janata Party legislature group Chaman Lal Gupta accused the Speaker of skipping the Question Hour.

He said there was no need for the House members to submit their questions if they could not be raised. At this, the Speaker quipped, "How do you presume that the Question Hour has been skipped? There will be Question Hour."

The ruckus in the assembly triggered a political slugfest with the PDP accusing the NC of adopting 'dictatorial' methods and the Speaker of being partisan while the ruling party slammed the opposition outfit for trying to gain publicity over the Shopian case. 

Cautioning members against dishonouring the House by indecent behaviour, Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone, who was targeted by PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, told reporters he will observe complete impartiality and not allow the PDP members to convert the house into a 'fish market'. 

"The dictatorial methods of the NC or its partisan Speaker cannot prevent the party from doing its duty towards the people of the state," Mehbooba said after she and 19 of her party Members of Legislative Assembly were evicted from the assembly for their conduct. 

"The Speaker, in spite of allowing unlisted issues by the BJP and ruling NC members on a day when only obituary references were on the table, refused to allow the PDP members to speak on the burning issue of human rights violations," she said. 

Condemning the PDP's behaviour, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, "You cannot win elections or the hearts of the people by disturbing proceedings, riding on desks and snatching mike and papers from the speaker."

"If anybody has the impression that they will earn recognition through this tactics, they are only befooling themselves," he said in an apparent reference to the shocking act of Mehbooba, who wrenched a mike out of the Speaker's podium and threw it away.

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