Assembly adjourned twice amid ruckus in both sittings

Opposition MLAs clashing with BJP members in the Assembly on Monday.-Excelsior/Rakesh
Opposition MLAs clashing with BJP members in the Assembly on Monday.-Excelsior/Rakesh

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Jan 9: As entire opposition was determined to put the PDP-BJP coalition Government on mat on Kashmir killings during the six month long unrest last year and alleged attack on Gujjars in Hirachak Village of Mareen tehsil in Kathua district this morning, it created a high drama and ruckus in the State Assembly during the second sitting today also forcing the Speaker Kavinder Gupta to adjourn the House twice.
The agitated opposition which was demanding a judicial probe on Kashmir killings during last six months unrest did not allow it to transact any business and continued slogan shouting against the Government as well as PDP-BJP and RSS. The Opposition NC and Congress members also tried to go towards the Speaker’s podium and snatch the papers, forcing him to adjourn the House for the day at 4-30 pm.
Even a virtual clash was avoided between Opposition’s Usman Majid and PDP’s Noor Mohammed Sheikh after the latter made a provocative statement against former, which surcharged the atmosphere in the House.
The protesting Opposition did not allow the chair to run the House after it assembled for the second sitting at 3 pm today and as soon as the House started its business, NC Legislator, Mian Altaf stood up from his chair and raised a paper in the House saying the houses of Gujjars were invaded and torched at Hari Chak village in Mareen Tehsil of Kathua district this morning by RSS and BJP.
He also alleged that police supported them and it resorted to firing resulting in injuries to the members of Gujjar community.
Meanwhile, all opposition members who were present in the House stood up from their seats to support Altaf and they too trooped in the Well of the House raising slogans, “Firqa Parast Sarkar Hai Hai” (Communal Government down down) and BJP RSS -Sarkar Hai Hai. They accused the Government of committing atrocities on the people while pointing towards treasury benches. To counter them RS Pathania of BJP retorted back but nothing was heard in the din as he was countered by Engineer Rashid who took some paper and pointed towards Pathania.
As entire opposition was in the Well, Vikar Rasool of Congress said that they will not tolerate atrocities. He said “ Apni Qoom Kay Liyay Eint Sey Eint Baja Dain Gey”.
To counter protesting Opposition Pathania of BJP stood up again from his seat and hit back saying “you are not the sympathizers of Gujjars but you want to create a scene in the House”.
The opposition also shouted slogans “Anti Muslim Sarkar Hai Hai, Qoom Ko Hisab Duo and Gunda Gardi Nahi Chaley Gee”.
This further surcharged the atmosphere in the House and some MLAs stood up on tables and chairs of the  reporters, snatched their papers and also threw chairs and created a pandemonium in the House. The Secretary of the House, Mohammed Ramzan and other reporters left the well for their safety.
This forced Speaker Kavinder Gupta to adjourn the House for half an hour at 3.30 PM. All the MLAs from Treasury benches left the House but Opposition members summoned the mock Assembly in the House.
Later when House assembled again at 4pm Akbar Lone and other opposition members tried to raise the issue of Gujjars. This provoked BJP’s Sat Sharma who stood up from his seat saying that opposition is giving the issue a communal colour but he too was hooted down by opposition. The Congress MLA G M Saroori countered at Treasury benches saying they are killers.
However the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Public Works Abdul Rehman Veeri stood up to make a statement on Kathua episode after the NC MLA from Sumbal Mohammed Akbar Lone and other Opposition members demanded the same.
Soon Veeri completed his statement Opposition raised the Kashmir killings issue and demanded the judicial probe. NC’s Ali Mohammed Sagar while pointing towards the Minister said “Veeri Sahib you have assured us the judicial probe on Kashmir killings tell us what you want to do now”. However the situation again went out of control when Veeri retorted towards opposition saying that they are always engaged in small issues. This further provoked the opposition and there were heated exchanges between opposition and Treasury benches. Even the Minster also countered the Opposition.
Targeting treasury benches Sagar said you are taking refuge under 2010 situation and you did not have any mercy for Kashmiris.
However to pacify the protesting Opposition Veeri said whosoever will be involved will be taken to task. “You are educated people and entire House wants to take advantage of your intelligence”, said Veeri while seeking the cooperation of Opposition in running the House. But this didn’t satisfy the Opposition and Devinder Rana of NC intervened saying that our demand is probe and second what problem the Government has to discuss the issue in House. Meanwhile, Noor Mohammed Sheikh of PDP from Batmaloo also stood up to speak and opposition continued shouting slogans. He pointing towards Usman Majid of Congress and made some reference towards Ikhwan.
This provoked the Majid and he left the well and proceeded towards PDP MLA to take on him physically. He also took a laptop and tried to throw it towards the MLA. But Marshals and other MLAs from Treasury benches and opposition stopped him from proceeding towards Noor Mohammed’s chair.
Protesting against the PDP MLA’s remark entire Opposition came to the Well and shouted slogans and Usman stood up on the desk and created a scene in the House. He said “a baseless allegation was leveled against him by PDP MLA and either he should apologize or being a democratically elected member of the House I will bring a Privilege Motion against him”. Noor also countered on him but Usman was supported by NC as well as his colleagues from Congress Party who demanded an apology from PDP MLA.
Intervening Speaker Kavinder Gupta said members should behave responsibly in the House. But Usman did not budge saying MLA either should apologize or be ready to face Privilege Motion.
Upset with happenings the Speaker said we have been witnessing such kind of behavior in the House from the day when the Session started. The National Anthem was also insulted and anti antinational slogans were raised in the House, he added.
This again provoked the entire Opposition and it resorted to strong protest by riding on the chairs and tables of the reporters. However Speaker asked Noor to apologize.  But this did not satisfy the Opposition and they started shouting slogans against him too as Rigzin Jora of Congress alleged that Speaker told him that he has raised the anti India slogan in the House.
He along with other opposition members shouted slogans against the Speaker saying “anti national Kon Hain Speaker Hain Speaker Hain”, Desh Drohi Kon Hain Speaker Hain Speaker Hain.  Seeing the situation taking a critical turn PDP’s Abdul Majid Padder stood up saying he is apologizing on behalf of Noor.
However the agitated opposition did not yield and they continued protest on the tables of reporters and tried to rush towards Speaker’s podium to snatch his papers also. Seeing situation going out of control, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.
In his statement on Kathua situation earlier Veeri said The situation in Kathua district, that witnessed clashes between two communities today, is under control and is being closely monitored by the civil and police administration, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri said.
He was replying to a question by National Conference leader and MLA from Kangan Mian Altaf in the lower house.
Giving details of the incident, Veri said today at around 7.30 AM some locals of Harya Chak village in the district found a severed head, allegedly of a cow, near the house of one Maskeen Gujjar, resident of Chak Dhari Harya in Chak Rajbagh.
“As the news spread, 200 to 300 members of the Hindu Community assembled there and held a protest demonstration and also blocked the road. Soon after one person took the severed head in his possession. Thereafter, the gathering swelled up to 500-600 people and they moved to Harya Chak Chowk in the shape of a procession,” he said.
The minister said local police headed by SDPO Border and SHO reached the spot and tried to pacify the protestors.
“However, the protestors continued their march and on reaching Harya Chowk the gathering swelled to 700/800. Police made many attempts to stop the protesters but they managed to reach Harya Chowk where around 300/400 members of the Gujjar community had assembled. Stone pelting begun from both the sides,” he said.
Veeri said the police, sensing the situation going out of control, lobbed some teargas shells and also fired few rounds in the air to disperse the mob and control the situation.
“The protesters dispersed but regrouped immediately,” he said.
Veeri said DIG Jammu-Kathua Range, Deputy Commissioner Kathua and SSP Kathua are on the spot making efforts to pacify the protesting people.
“During the clashes between the two groups, the locals damaged the house of a person belonging to the Gujjar community. Due to the stone pelting, around 9/10 persons sustained injuries. One police constable also sustained injuries during the clashes,” he said.
Earlier, immediately after the Chief Minister ended her reply on the Adjournment Motion, all National Conference and Congress members, present in the House, were on their feet demanding that the Government set up a Judicial Commission to probe the Kashmir unrest killings. National Conference MLA Devender Singh Rana vociferously demanded the Government statement on Akhnoor killings saying terror attacks have repeatedly been taking place as first it was Uri, second Nagrota and now Akhnoor, which required tough Government response.
While former Chief Minister and NC MLA Omar Abdullah and CPM veteran MY Tarigami were not present in the House today, other NC and Congress legislators including two former Speakers-Mohammad Akbar Lone and Mubarak Gul, former Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, Congress Legislature Party leader Rigzin Jora trooped into Well of the House demanding that the Government respond to their demand for setting up of Judicial Commission on Kashmir killings.
Speaker Kavinder Gupta, however, went ahead with the debate on Motion of Thanks to Governor’s Address with PDP and BJP members speaking using separate mike to make their voice heard but many a times their voice was lost in the din created by the Opposition members, who thumped benches, shouted slogans and physically tried to disrupt speech of BJP members including Dr Krishan Lal (Chhamb) and Ravinder Raina (Nowshera).
NC members including Abdul Mujeed Larmi marched up to the benches of Dr Lal and Raina when they were speaking on the debate and downed their mike. Repeatedly, heated exchanges took place between Opposition and BJP and Opposition and PDP members. Dr Lal even tried to speak by standing on his seat but the Opposition didn’t allow him.
At this stage, the Speaker ordered that Larmi should be marshaled out of the House. He was removed from the House but called back some time later.
Several times, the House rented with the slogans like `Hum Kaya Chahte Judicial Probe (we want judicial probe)’, `Qatil Sarkaar Hai Hai’, `PDP-BJP Sarkaar Hai Hai’, `RSS Sarkaar Hai Hai’ (down with killer Government, down with PDP-BJP Government and down with RSS Government), `PDP Ka Kaya Badlaav, Boli Say Naheen Goli Say (change in the PDP- with bullet not with talks) and `Jhootha Rashtravaad Hai Hai (down with fake nationalism)’.
The Opposition members also shouted in front of Mohammad Yusuf Bhat of PDP, who had initiated debate on Motion of Thanks to Governor’s Address. A number of times, the NC and Congress MLAs indulged in hooting and shouting to make the voice of Ruling Party members, who were taking part in the debate, inaudible.
However, NC MLAs-Devender Singh Rana and Dr Kamal Arora staged walk-out from the House after their demand for discussion on today’s Akhnoor terror attack was not conceded by the Speaker.
“Where has the 56 inch chest now gone”? Rana asked the BJP members in a reference towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said 20 persons were killed in Uri, seven at Nagrota and now three at Akhnoor and the Government has failed to contain such attacks.
After protesting in the Well of the House along with other Opposition members, Rana and Kamal Arora staged a walk-out in the House.
Engineer Rashid continued to protest from his seat.
BJP members Sat Sharma, Ravinder Raina and others countered the ruling party members saying the present situation in Jammu and Kashmir was the result of Pakistan and charged the Opposition with enacting drama. “Who is the murdered of democracy? Everyone knows it. We are the guardians of democracy,” Raina remarked.
There was complete mess and chaos inside the Assembly for full two and a half hours (from 11 am to 1.30 pm) when the House adjourned for the lunch break with Opposition MLAs indulging in slogan shouting, thumping of benches and having heated exchanges with ruling party MLAs. However, the Speaker went ahead with the debate on Motion of Thanks to Governor’s Address in which only PDP and BJP members, apart from Independent Pawan Gupta, participated.
Pawan Gupta alleged complete lack of governance and wanted to know whether the Government has surrendered before the anti-national elements. He said the Government should come clean.
Gupta said the BJP was speaking in different languages. “While Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Officer (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh has described Burhan Wani as militants, the BJP leaders here were speaking in different languages.
“The PDP-BJP didn’t know how to govern.” Gupta, an Independent MLA from Udhampur, remarked.
As Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced that her Government will set up special investigation teams in all districts for probing the killings in a time-bound manner, NC MLA Mohammad Akbar Lone intervened demanding a judicial inquiry into the matter.
He was seconded by Congress’s G M Saroori. Independent legislator Hakeem Yaseen also said that government should constitute a judicial commission to probe the cases.
NC member Ali Mohammad Sagar said that unlike Omar Abdullah, who owned up to the killings in 2010, Mufti “remained hidden”. He said a commission headed by a retired Supreme Court judge should look into the matter.
As the Government did not respond to the opposition’s demand of a judical probe, members of the opposition parties threw papers in the Well of the House and resorted to anti-Government sloganeering and hooting.
Verbal duels were witnessed between BJP and NC members, who trooped into the Well of the House surrounded by marshals and watch and ward staff.
Congress Legislative Party leader Nawang Rigzin Jora said: “Mufti should take responsibility of the killings last year as Omar did in 2010. She is coward. There should be a judicial probe.”
Some NC legislators then rushed to BJP MLA Ravinder Raina and snatched his mike when he was speaking on the governor’s address, triggering pushing and shoving between the members of two parties.
A scuffle erupted between the members of the two parties when the NC MLAs tried to snatch Raina’s mike again.
National Conference legislator Abdul Majeed Bhat Larmi was marshaled out of the House by the watch and ward staff for creating ruckus.
In the morning, NC member Mohammad Akbar Lone, Devender Singh Rana and CLP leader Rigzin Jora said the Speaker can’t go ahead with the Question Hour till the Adjournment Motion was settled and the Chief Minister gives his reply. The Speaker suspended the Question Hour and the Chief Minister started her reply at 10.15 am instead of scheduled 11 am.