House Adjourned Thrice Amid Pandemonium, Speaker Finally Calls It A Day
SRINAGAR: Pandemonium reigned in the state assembly on Tuesday as Kashmir-based opposition parties sought to pin the government down over union minister Sushil Kumar Shindes statement ruling out the return of Muhammad Afzal Gurus body to his family.
Amid heated slogans and acrimonious exchanges, the speaker adjourned the assembly thrice, the house barely transacting any business, and finally wound up proceedings for the day in the face of relentless demands for Gurus body by the PDP, the PDF, the CPI(M) and independent MLA Engineer Rasheed.
Over Rasheeds parting shot of UN resolutions at the end of the disrupted sitting, the rightwing BJP left the assembly muttering Jo Mangega Pakistan, Usko Bejho Qabristan
The BJP and Congress also picked up a row over law minister appending sahib to Gurus name and PDP leader Molvi Iftekhar Ansari referring to him as shaheed.
Valley-based opposition parties went after the government right from the word go, asking for clarifications on the union home ministers statement.
The PDP said that Shindes assertions had exposed the government which, it said, had been making claims of pressing for the return of Gurus mortal remains.
Its slogan-shouting members trooped to the well of the house, drawing taunts of drama baaz (sham actors) from the BJP, to which the PDP retaliated with chants of kafan chor (shroud stealers).
The treasury benches remained mute spectators in the clamour during which CPI(M) legislator Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami and PDF leader Hakeem Muhammad Yasin too were on their feet as part of the agitators.
His repeated calls failing to quell the rising din, the speaker, Mubarak Gul, adjourned the house for half-an-hour amid Engineer Rasheeds shouts of Tum Ko Kashmir Chodna Padey Ga.
BJP members filed out of the assembly accusing the independent legislator of speaking Pakistans language.
Rasheed and the PDP resumed their demands of Gurus body again when the House assembled at 10:49.
Speaking up, Molvi Iftihkhar Ansari said: The episode of Shaheed Afzal Guru is extremely sensitive. The House should pass a resolution to press New Delhi to return his body to the kin.
Describing the situation in the Valley after Gurus execution as disturbing, Ansari said: Even a despotic set-up will not wreak such oppression on people as the present government has.
The Valley has been practically turned into a jail, he said.
In reply, NC member and former minister, Javed Ahmad Dar said that the issue of Gurus body had already been taken up with the centre.
If it (the centre) is serious, the union home minister should accept the demand of (returning Gurus body), he said.
But the House flared up again when another member, Ajaz Ahmad Khan, said that the PDP was enacting a farce to divert attention from public issues.
En Rasheed and PDP members were on their feet again with demands of an assembly resolution seeking the return of Gurus mortal remains.
Even as the PDP chanted Bey Zameer Sarkar (conscienceless government), Hakeem Muhammad Yasin of the PDF demanded to know what had happened to the letters Omar Abdullah and Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had written to the prime minister asking for returning Gurus body.
He demanded that both should make a statement in the house.
There should be no politics over the issue. The PDF is clear on the stand that the body of Muhammad Afzal Guru should be returned to his family, he said.
Even as the BJP continued to take pot-shots at the PDP, the right wing members were joined by the Panthers Party in describing the situation in the House as a conspiracy.
Conspiracies against India are being hatched in this house. This must be stopped, they said.
This sparked off another uproar, with opposing members trading recriminations.
Sensing the situation beyond control, the speaker adjourned the house once again for half-an-hour more.
But the PDP was unrelenting when the house reconvened for the third time.
Keeping up its protests, the party once again demanded that Gurus body be brought back.
The speakers announcement that the law minister would make a statement brought a semblance of order, but shambles overtook again as Mir Saifullah referred to Guru as sahib.
The law minister had barely begun, terming the issue as a sensitive one in which sentiments of the public were involved, when the BJP and the Panthers Party kicked up a din when he used the words Afzal Guru Sahib.
Members of both parties demanded the house to be shut down, sparking off another round of slogans and counter-slogans.
Stop making speeches, Take steps to bring back Gurus body, PDP members said, addressing the law minister.
The speaker was assailed at once by the PDP, the BJP and the Panthers Party, with some members knocking down mikes and chairs.
As the speaker suspended proceedings once again amid rowdy scenes, BJP members left the chamber shouting Jo Mangega Pakistan, Usko Bejho Qabristan.
Not to be outdone, Engineer Rasheed demanded UN resolutions to be implanted in the state.
It was Nehru who took the issue to the United Nations. If I am a traitor, so is Nehru, he said.
The House reconvened at three in the afternoon with more protests from the PDP and En Rahseed.
Congress member and minister for irrigation Sham Lal Sharma demanded the resignation of MLAs who had used words like sahib and shaheed for Afzal Guru.
The minister said that such references were against the Indian constitution.
Another uproar followed, and the speaker ordered En Rasheed to be marshalled out, adjourning the house for the day shortly afterwards.
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