JAMMU, Jan 10: Entire Opposition today again disrupted proceedings during Question Hour in the Legislative Assembly seeking that Speaker Kavinder Gupta withdraws his remarks against Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Rigzin Jora and later demanding action against those responsible for attacking torching the ‘kullahs” of Gujjar community in Hiran-agar area of Kathua district.
All Opposition MLAs belonging to National Conference, Congress, CPM and PDF and Independent MLA Engineer Rashid later staged a walked in the Assembly in protest against Government inaction on Hiranagar incident.
As soon as the Question Hour began in the Assembly, all Opposition MLAs were on their feet with some of them trooping into Well of the House shouting slogans against the Speaker and demanding that he apologize or withdraw his remarks against Jora.
Initially, the Speaker paid no heed towards the protests and went ahead with the Question Hour though the voice of the Ministers, replying to the questions and MLAs, asking the question and supplementaries, was lost in the din created by massive sloganeering by the Opposition MLAs.
As some of the MLAs were shouting ‘RSS Speaker Hai Hai’, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh immediately intervened said: “we are proud representatives of the RSS but inside the House we are Ministers and the Speaker, who belong to all”.
Dr Singh said the opposition members should behave properly and allow the House to run. At the same time, he added, if the Speaker has spoken something, the issue must be settled.
The Deputy Chief Minister said the Speaker’s chair is beyond any question and every members should give due respect to the Chair.
National Conference MLA Devender Singh Rana called upon the Speaker to apologize for the remarks but the Speaker maintained that he didn’t say anything.
CPM MLA MY Tarigami said though he wasn’t present in the House yesterday but what he heard was regrettable.
“No member has uttered the slogan ‘Kashmir Banega Pakistan’. When the motion had come for your election as the Speaker, all of us had supported irrespective or your ideology and background. You should function as the Speaker of entire House,” Tarigami said.
Jora said this House is witness that he has not raised any anti-national slogans. “Today also, the word communal has been used and not ‘kameena’ (cheap),” he added.
Speaker Kavinder Gupta had yesterday said the opposition had lowered the prestige of the House by raising anti-national slogans of “Kashmir banega Pakistan (Kashmir will become Pakistan)”.
Strongly denying the charge, the opposition members disrupted the Question Hour by resorting to sloganeering while some of them trooped into the Well of the House asking the Speaker to take back his remarks.
Jora had yesterday said the Congress MLAs were raising slogans like “PDP ka kya farman, Kashmir banega kabristan (what is PDP’s call, Kashmir should become a graveyard)” and “PDP ki kya pehachan, Kashmir banega Nagpur (what is PDP’s identity, Kashmir will become Nagpur, a reference to RSS headquarters)”.
He had said these remarks were misinterpreted by the Speaker, while threatening to move a no-confidence motion against him along with other opposition parties.
Amid the uproar and protests which continued for 25 minutes, the Speaker said, “If I have heard anything in wrong connotation I take my words back.”
On this, Jora thanked the Speaker for showing magnanimity by taking back his words and restoring order in the House.
As soon as this issue settled down, National Conference MLA and former Minister Mian Altaf was on his feet and he was soon joined by all Opposition members for his demand of action against those responsible for torching ‘kullahs’ of Gujjars.
Demanding an assurance and statement from the Government, opposition members of NC, Congress, CPI (M) and Engineer Rashid trooped near the Well and resorted to anti-Government slogans for its “failure” in ensuring peace and security at the place where the clash occurred.
Amid sloganeering, protest and noisy scenes, Mian Altaf said that the Government has “failed” to protect Gujjars who have been “targeted” by locals.
Altaf said the authorities have “failed” to maintain law and order and demanded the removal of DC and SSP of Kathua district for the incident.
He was supported by Congress MLA Nawang Rigzin Jora and Independent MLA Engineer Rashid and CPI (M) member M Y Tarigami.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister A R Veeri countered them by saying that government has already given reply in the House yesterday and the situation has come back to normalcy.
He levelled charges against the opposition for its “bad attitude” of raking up every issue and disrupting the House despite replying to the issue.
Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Choudhary Zulfikar, whose resignation was sought by one of the MLAs on the issue of excesses on Gujjars, said the Government was conscious and alive to the situation at Hiranagar and was regularly monitoring it.
Zulfikar said excesses on Gujjars had taken place during NC-Congress regime. He said there were clear and categoric directions from the Government to take all steps for maintenance of law and order. He charged the Opposition for raising the issue as they have lost the Government.
Amid sloganeering and pandemonium, the entire opposition led by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah staged walkout from the Assembly. Apart from NC and Congress members, CPM MLA MY Tarigami, PDF MLA Hakim Mohammad Yasin and Independent MLA Engineer Rashid also staged walkout from the House.
Later speaking to reporters, Jora said that BJP-PDP Government was creating fear psychosis in the region and dividing people on communal lines.
“The law and order machinery has totally failed to ensure security and safety of the people and ensure peace in the state,” Jora said.
Hitting out at the government, NC MLC Mian Altaf said that “Gujjars have been targeted again this morning and there was fear among them. The DC and SSP should be immediately removed for failure to protect them.”
M Y Tarigami said that Jammu and Kashmir is a sensitive State and the government should act with caution to ensure that such incidents were not repeated.
Veeri had yesterday said in the Assembly that the situation was under control in Kathua and was being closely monitored by the civil and police administration.
The Question Hour remained disrupted for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh today slammed the opposition for not allowing the smooth functioning of the House and they have no issue to raise.
“Opposition is unnecessarily creating uproar in the House because they do not have any issue to raise,” Dr Singh told reporters outside the House.
He said that due to continuous disruption by the opposition members, Government business is getting affected and issues concerning people are not being able to be discussed in the House.
‘’We want to solve issues of a common man, which are being raised by the MLAs but opposition is disrupting the House proceedings on unwanted issues,” said the Deputy Chief Minister.
On Kathua incident, he cleared that it was clashes between two families and misinformation was spread across due to which it got highlighted, which led to violence adding, ‘’we have taken the cognizance and culprits arrested.”
The Deputy Chief Minister however, on compensation to two soldiers martyred in Uri Attack last year said, ‘’there is a set procedure of compensation and we will be giving Rs 5 lakh and a job to next to kin, which will be announced soon.”