Pandemonium in JK Assembly: Opposition protests, raises slogans over civilian killings
Jammu, Jan 03: Proceedings in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and Legislative Council were stalled today as opposition leaders demanded a discussion on human rights violations and the killing of innocents in the Valley. A combined opposition walked out of the Assembly after pleading for nearly an hour for a discussion on human rights violations and power crisis in the Valley. The Legislative Council was also adjourned briefly as the Congress and NC staged a walkout seeking a discussion on the killing of innocents in Kashmir. In the Assembly, Speaker Kavinder Gupta turned down the adjournment motions moved by the opposition members but agreed to a one-hour discussion after question hour. However, leaders of the NC, Congress, CPI(M) as well as Independent legislators walked out of the House. As noisy protests and anti-government slogans disrupted proceedings, Sukhnandan Choudhary of the ruling BJP went to the well twice, seeking a reply from the government on issues related to farmers. He also left in a huff. When the House assembled for the day, members of the NC and Congress as well as Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rasheed asked for adjournment of question hour for a discussion on the security situation in the state, including alleged human rights violations and the power crisis, especially in the Valley. The speaker did not allow it, prompting them to troop into the well of the house. Amid slogans like “Dismiss this murderer government” and “Stop human rights violations”, the speaker said a one-hour discussion would be held after question hour. Almost the entire opposition gathered in the well thrice. They left soon after Minister for Parliamentary Affairs A R Veeri accused the opposition of having “no issues” to raise and deliberately disrupting the house. “We moved two adjournment motions, one on human rights violations and another on the crisis the people of Kashmir are facing because of inadequate supply of electricity in this harsh winter,” CPI(M) legislator M Y Tarigami told reporters outside the House. “The very nature of the issues, in our opinion, warranted a discussion and adjournment of business but the speaker did not allow it and that is why we staged a walkout,” he added. He said the speaker called for a one-hour discussion only after the members entered the well. Even then, he continued to vacillate, adding to the chaos, Tarigami said. He said the opposition was not disrupting the House and had moved adjournment motions in accordance with procedure. It would continue with its demand for a thorough discussion on issues. “The house met after a gap of one year. It is imperative to discuss the prevailing situation in the state,” added National Conference MLA Devender Rana. “This government is inefficient as a result of which even ruling party MLAs are walking out,” he said, referring to BJP legislator Choudhary. The government, he said, was aware that its failures would get highlighted if there was a discussion and was trying to suppress the opposition’s voice. Independent MLA Rasheed said he wanted to raise the issue of the gag on the use of social media by government employees but “the house had turned into a fish market”. He also accused the NC and Congress of enacting a “drama” on the human rights situation. Clarifying his stance, BJP’s Choudhary said he walked out due to the failure of the government to address his concerns with regard to farmers. “The government plans to construct ring roads in the twin capitals. The farmers are not happy with the land acquisition policy,” he said. Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “revolutionary steps” for farmers, he said his fight was not against his party. He only wanted to ensure that farmer rights were safeguarded, the former minister said. The chaos in the Assembly found some echo in the Legislative Council where, too, NC and Congress members submitted adjournment motions to Chairman Haji Anayat Ali, asking for a discussion on civilian killings. The chairman rejected the adjournment motion, prompting slogans and protests by the opposition. BJP MLC Ajat Shatru Singh also walked out in support of his demand for granting a holiday on the birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh.