Jammu- History of sorts was created here state legislative assembly here today, with at least fifteen people including seven legislator sustaining injuries in a clash between watch and ward staff of the Assembly and opposition MLAs in the course latter's forcible removal as ordered by the Speaker Ali Mohammed Naik. Barring Dilawar Mir (JD), Yusuf Tarigami (CPM) and Bhagat Ram Chand (BSP) entire opposition was expelled for the rest of the current session.
The Speaker's order followed unprecedented pandemonium that broke out in the house, soon after today's session started, with Naik announcing the question hour. The agitating members left their seats and assembled in the well of the house demanding suspension of the question hour and asking for a discussion over the situation arising of the agitation of Jammu students against the alleged "injustice" done to the students from that division. The opposition members also demanded that the list of selected candidates for MBBS and BDS courses be scrapped.
The trouble started immediately after Speaker resumed his seat when members the BJP, Congress and Janta Dal got up to raise the issue of "large scale bungling, irregularities and corruption" in the recently released selection list of MBBS and BDS. The speaker Ali Mohd Naik however ignored the shouts of opposition and instead named the member, on top of the list of questions slated for today, to ask his question. But the agitated opposition continued with slogan shouting and amidst unruly noisy scenes in the house, nothing was audible. As the protest continued, CPM member Yusuf Tarigami was heard inviting the attention of the speaker about the "environment of the house" saying "we want to speak about environment of the state but the environment inside the house is not well".
When the speaker disallowed all pleas of the opposition, the agitated members walked to well of the house and staged a dharna shouting slogans against ministers and ruling party members. Harsh Dev Singh (NPP) Mohd Yusuf allies Kuka Parrey (AL) Satpal Lakhitra and Jagdish Dubev (JD) also joined the dharna and continued shouting slogans demanding scrap of list. The BJP and Congress members including Mehbooba Mufti, Ashok Sharma, Balbir Singh, Lal Singh. Searing Dorjay, and Tara Chand also joined the BJP legislators headed by Shiv Charn Gupta and demanded suspension of question hour and a reply from the government. At one stage some opposition members were seen rushing towards the Speaker's podium amidst shouts of slogans.
At this stage Law minister P L Handoo, who also hold Parliamentary Affairs portfolio, moved a motion seeking expulsion of all the members for rest of the session. The motion was seconded by Finance Minister Mohd Shafi carried by a voice vote and then followed Naik's order expelling all the 17 members, indulging in "uncalled for behaviour" for remaining period of the current session of the assembly. After the motion was adopted and Speaker gave his ruling, the members were asked to leave the house. However as the members defied the repeated orders of the chair, the Speaker adjourned the house for half an hour. But the opposition members continued their dharna and slogan shouting in the well of the house.
As the house re-assembled, after stipulated time, the opposition was there in the well busy in slogan shouting and making it impossible for the Speaker to go ahead with the proceedings.
The Speaker at this stage ordered the Marshall of the house to remove the expelled members physically with the help of watch and ward staff, this resulted in violent clashes between the members and the watch and ward staff with the former offering stiff resistance. Chairs and microphones were used in the melee that followed leading to multiple injuries to Ashok Sharma, Ch. Lal Singh,
Shiv Charn Gupta, Prithvi Chand, Bali Bhagat, Ch Chuni Lala, Ch Piara Singh and Satpal Lahotra. Seven members of the watch and ward staff also received injuries.
The Chief Minister and his ministerial colleagues did not respond to opposition members' demand for scrapping the list or discussion over the issue.
(Kashmir Observer, 25 March, 1998)
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.