BJP, JSM MLAs grapple with Independent, snatch Guru’s poster

*Two adjournment motions moved for today

Sanjeev Pargal

PDP legislators led by Mehbooba Mufti protesting outside Central Hall of Legislature on Thursday.

JAMMU, Feb 28: The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and National Panthers Party (NPP) today boycotted Governor NN Vohra’s Address to joint session of Legislature while the BJP MLAs clashed with Independent legislator Engineer Rashid at start of the Address on the issue of hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru before Rashid was removed out of the Central Hall of Legislature by the marshals.
As soon as Vohra started his Address at 10.35 am, Engineer Rashid displaying a poster of Afzal Guru wanted to know why he was hanged.
“Congress has sacrificed Guru for politics. If Guru was a terrorist, why the Government had to impose curfew in the Kashmir Valley after his hanging”? Rashid asked as he continued to shout disrupting the Governor’s Address.
All four BJP MLAs including Jugal Kishore, Ashok Khajuria, Choudhary Sukhnandan and Sham Choudhary and JSM legislator Ashwani Sharma were on their feet and started countering Engineer Rashid.
The JSM MLA wanted Rashid to behave with decency and use proper language. However, Mr Rashid continued to shout and used some words like “murder of Guru”, which further provoked the BJP and JSM MLAs. Choudhary Sukhnandan and Sharma virtually grappled with Engineer Rashid as Vohra went ahead with his Address.
Sukhnandan snatched the poster of Guru from Rashid and tore it.
While National Conference-Congress members maintained silence, the BJP and JSM MLAs continued to counter Rashid till he was taken out of the Central Hall of Legislature by the marshals.
Then, it was the turn of BJP and JSM MLAs to indulge in slogan shouting like “Anti National Logon Ko Bahar Karo, Bahar Karo (throw out the anti-national people)” and “Desh Drohi Bayan Baazi Bandh Karo, Bandh Karo (stop anti-national statements)”.
After eight minutes of scuffle and slogans, the order was restored in the Central Hall of Legislature and the Governor went ahead with his Address.
The PDP and the NPP boycotted the Governor’s Address though they staged dharna and held protests outside the Assembly complex during the Governor’s Address. The BJP MLAs also staged dharna outside the Central Hall in protest against discrimination with Jammu region before the Address.
Led by PDP Legislature Party leader and party president, Mehbooba Mufti, the PDP legislators sat on dharna in protest against failure of the State Government to protect Afzal Guru, who was hanged in Tihar jail on February 9 “depriving him of his proper legal rights”.
Carrying placards like “Tamil Nadu Nay Inkar Kiya, Punjab Nay Inkar Kiya, Par Jammu, Kashmir Nay Ikrar Kiya”, the PDP legislators pointed out that Governments of Tamil Nadu and Punjab have opposed death sentences to killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Chief Minister of Punjab Beant Singh “but the J&K Government failed to protect rights of its own citizen”.
They questioned that Afzal Guru, who was in serial number 28 among the death sentence convicts was picked up and sent to the gallows without giving opportunity to approach the Supreme Court. The party legislators were also demanding that mortal remains of Guru must to be given to his family members for proper burial and last rites.
As a mark of protest against the State Government, PDP legislators did not enter the Central Hall of Legislature and boycotted the Governor’s Address.
Setting the tone of protests for tomorrow, the PDP has moved an adjournment motion in the Assembly seeking suspension of entire business tomorrow to discuss situation arising out of the execution of Guru and delay in the return of his mortal remains to the family.
The PDP has submitted copies of the adjournment motion to Speaker, the Law Minister and the Assembly Secretary.
CPM MLA MY Tarigami has also moved a similar adjournment motion in the Assembly for tomorrow.
The PDP also boycotted the Assembly as well as the Council sittings today after the Governor’s Address. The Assembly today took up the obituary reference followed by the election of National Conference leader Mubarak Gul as the Speaker. The Council also took up the obituary reference.
During the Governor’s Address, the PDP members kept sitting on stairs outside the Central Hall of Legislature shouting slogans against the hanging of Guru and seeking return of his body.
Four legislators of the NPP also boycotted the Governor’s Address but on different issues. They held a protest demonstration outside the Central Hall of Legislature against “corruption and mis-governance” in the State.
NPP leader and former Minister Harshdev Singh said the Government has failed to curb corruption and give an effective governance to the people. “It (the Government) has no moral right to govern”, Mr Singh said.
BJP breakaway group leader Prof Chaman Lal Gupta was also on his feat at the start of Governor’s Address and raised some issues, which were lost in the din. Prof Gupta also submitted a memorandum to the Governor highlighting demands of Jammu region.
When the Assembly met for obituary reference, Engineer Rashid was again on his feet. He left his seat and reached near Well of the House, where he was surrounded by the marshals. He continued to protest against the execution of Guru and also had heated exchanged with BJP rebels, BJP and JSM MLAs.
Rashid also wanted to know why he was removed from the Central Hall of Legislature during the Governor Address.
Heated arguments and exchange of words took place between Rashid and MLAs of BJP breakaway faction, BJP and JSM.
Deputy Speaker Sartaj Madni, who was in the chair, however, ordered that the words of Rashid wouldn’t be recorded.
Despite Madni’s repeated appeals to Rashid that he would be allowed to speak, the Independent MLA continued to shout.
Madni later ordered that Rashid be removed from the House.

 

Sidelights

* Several Cabinet Ministers, who were dropped in last month’s Cabinet reshuffle including Qamar Ali Akhoon, Surjit Singh Slathia, RS Chib and Aga Ruhulla were relegated to third row during Governor’s Address to joint session of Legislature along with other former Cabinet Ministers-Ghulam Mohammad Saroori, Ajatshatru Singh, and Jugal Kishore.
*Public Enterprises Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed preferred to sit in the second row despite being offered a sear on front row by Congress MLA from Banihal and Minister of State with Independent Charge Vikar Rasool. Vikar followed Peerzada right up to his chair but the latter refused to take seat on the front row.
*However, this was not the case with Higher Education Minister and former Minister Mohammad Akbar Lone and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Saifullah Mir, who agreed to take seats on front row on being offered the chairs by Vikar Rasool and another Minister of State Feroz Khan.
*Chief Minister Omar Abdullah reached the Central Hall of Legislature five minutes ahead of 10.30 am when the Governor reached to Address the joint session of the two Houses.
*PDP legislators led by Mehbooba Mufti, who were sitting on dharna outside the Central Hall of Legislature, didn’t stand up even during the national anthem.
*Chief Minister Omar Abdullah after the election of Mubarak Gul as Speaker recalled that he used to take Gul’s motorbike for a ride in Srinagar whenever he visited to meet his father Dr Farooq Abdullah for meetings in Srinagar and emptied his fuel tank many times.
* An emotional Gul also gave credit of success to his parents besides party colleagues and others.
* It was a rare occasion when a MLA (Independent Engineer Rashid) was physically removed during joint session of Legislature for creating uproar.
* Governor NN Vohra’s Address lasted 65 minutes.

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