Assembly Adjourned Amid Chaos3 October 2011
Srinagar: The Legislative Assembly Monday witnessed a new low, in recent past, with the House witnessing ugly scenes amid reverberations of nastiest abuses. The House including treasury and opposition benches and the people sitting in official, public and press gallery where shell-shocked to hear Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone hurling choicest abuses at the Peoples Democratic Party legislator Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, for which he apologised later. The trouble started after Speaker objected to introduction of the adjournment motion by PDP before the question hour, seeking discussion on the alleged custodial death of National Conference activist Sayeed Muhammad Yousuf on September 30. “A discussion on the matter is hardly justified at this stage and can prove counter-productive as state government has requested the chief justice to appoint a sitting high court judge to probe the matter,” Speaker maintained. The Speaker’s declaration led to heated argument between the leader of opposition Mehbooba Mufti and the Chair. Amid commotion, PDP legislator Iftikhar Hussain Ansari urged the Speaker to suspend the question hour and allow discussion on the adjournment motion. “Don’t dictate terms to me. You are traitor of traitors. File your income Tax dues first,” Lone told Ansari as the two engaged in levelling charges of corruption against each other. The heated exchange of words between the two turned uglier when Lone started hurling nasty abuses at Ansari. “If anyone calls me a thief, shouldn’t I call him back a thief. What is bad in it. If anyone abuses me, I too will hurl choicest of abuses on him. I will tell him tax thief,” Lone responded as he hurled abuses on Ansari while NC and Congress members were standing on their positions shouting slogans against PDP members. Agitated, Ansari threw a fan towards Lone, but it did not hit him and fell in the well. However, abuses and derogatory words hurled on Lone by Ansari as claimed by him were not audible. The Speaker later expressed regret over his remarks against Ansari. “I regret what happened in the beginning,” he said. Amid exchange of heated arguments between both sides, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ministers accused PDP of being power hungry. “You only want power. If you have guts compete with us politically. You are doing drama. You are attacking Omar Sahab time and again,” Sagar told PDP members. Mehbooba responded: “Sagar Sahab you are accusing us of playing a drama. But you and your party are involved in killing people and engaging in corruption. You are the killers.” She shouted there can be no fair probe till Omar Abdullah continues to remain in the chair. “Omar Abdullah has been accused of involvement in the issue. This needs discussion at highest level as highest office is involved. Yousuf was very close to Chief Minister and other NC leaders. We demand resignation from murderers. Give us account of Yousuf’s money,” she said, as Omar kept watching the unfolding events silently. The abuse hurling continued for more than 10 minutes as PDP continued with its demand for suspending the business to discuss Yousuf’s death, forcing three adjournments within two hours and finally suspension of the full day’s business. As the proceedings resumed after adjournment, PDP legislators got up from their chairs demanding suspension of the question hour to discuss Yousuf’s death. “This is serious issue and needs to be discussed as fingers are being raised on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, his father Dr Farooq Abdullah and Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani,” Mehbooba told Speaker. National Conference legislators strongly objected to Mehbooba’s remarks amid slogans by opposition members “produce the killers.” The National Conference members responded with counter slogans “Produce the killers of Dr Lone (former education minister Dr Ghulam Nabi Lone).” PDP legislator Muzaffar Hussain Baig sought time to put forth his plea for reconsidering of the decision, but NC legislators including ministers rose up in protest against allowing his plea. He was contested by Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather. “The motion is gone and there can be no discussion on the issue,” Rather quoted rules. Enraged by protests of NC lawmakers, NPPs Balwant Singh Mankotia accused them of disputing the business of House while demanding an inquiry by Central Bureau of Investigation into the Yousuf’s death. “This is not a small case and needs investigation by CBI,” he demanded. Amid commotion, NC members trooped in the well as PDP legislator Peerzada Mansoor climbed on bench in protest against NC members, forcing another second adjournment for 15 minutes. When the House met for the third time PDP legislators continued their demand for discussion on Yousuf’s death, asking Speaker to reconsider his decision. They stormed into the well of the House and tore business papers. PDP member Javaid Mustafa Mir turned the tables upside down, another adjournment was only inevitable. As the House reassembled again, the PDP legislators continued with slogans: “Produce the killers of Yousuf. Give account of Yousuf’s money.” With the opposition refusing to budge and NC joined by Congress continued slogans against PDP, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day. Yousuf, a land dealer from south Kashmir’s Bijbehara town, died last week Friday, allegedly in police custody. He had been detained for questioning along with two other middle-rung leaders of the party, who alleged that Yousuf had taken a bribe of Rs 1.18 crore from them for getting one a minister’s post and the other a legislator’s seat. The government said Yousuf had died in the local police hospital due to a heart attack. PDP PUSHED OUT OF LC Moazum Muhammad Adds: The opposition Peoples Democratic Party MLCs were marshalled out of the Legislative Council Monday after their adjournment motion was not endorsed to start discussion on the alleged custodial death of Syed Muhammad Yousuf. Following the uproar the council was adjourned twice. As the House started its proceedings, the PDP members brought an adjournment motion, however the ruling NC members pitched their resentment saying, “Don’t do politics on graves and dead bodies.” “Judicial probe has been ordered in the case. You shouldn’t do politics on graves and dead bodies,” MLC Ajay Sadhotra told the PDP members. “Who killed ex-minister late Ghulam Nabi Lone? His killers should be made public,” said Dr Bashir Ahmad Veeri. However the Deputy Chairman Arvinder Singh Micky tried to pacify the members. “We can’t take any decision in the case unless judicial inquiry is not completed. I request you to take your seats,” Micky said. But the opposition didn’t relent, demanding punishment to killers. “It is grave issue and shouldn’t be looked into non-seriously. Why FIR hasn’t been lodged in the case. The case has taken place at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s residence. We don’t expect an impartial probe under this Government,” said PDP MLC Murtaza Khan. The House was later adjourned. As soon as the House started its proceeding, the PDP members again stood up. Responding to their pleas, MLC Devinder Singh Rana stated that judicial probe has been ordered by the Government. “What more than judicial inquiry? It is against the rules of House. Please maintain decorum of the House. You are the custodian of this House,” responded Rana. Pointing toward PDP MLCs, the Minister for Rural Development and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Sagar said that notice of motion should be passed to Secretary. “There only target is Omar Abdullah. Omar Sahib’s ghost nightmares them and their leaders. This issue is related with PDP’s chair. They (PDP) don’t have anything else to discuss,” Sagar said while replying to Khan’s assertion that the issue is serious. “You are the killers and politically bankrupt. Your leaders told lies and later on apologized. There politics is lie. Go and bring that newspaper also which carried your apologies,” said Rana while referring to newspaper reports. Amid uproar, Sagar asked Sadhotra to ask question so the business is resumed. However, the Deputy Chairman adjourned the House till Tuesday. PEOPLE PROTEST AGAINST LONE SUHAIL AJMAL Adds from Bandipora: Minutes after PDP leader and Speaker Legislative Assembly Muhammad Akbar Lone exchanged abuses in the House, hundreds of people in Sonawari came out on roads and protested against the Speaker who incidentally happens to be the representative of the area. Raising slogans against ruling National Conference, protesters were demanding legal action against the Speaker. “Lone has indulged in blasphemy of a religious leader, he should be booked and punished,” shouted protesters. “It is unfortunate that a Speaker is acting in a biased manner, he should be independent and tolerant,” said Aga Sayeed Kumvi said. Protesters blocked Srinagar-Leh road near Shadipora and tried to move towards the home of Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone. However huge contingents of police intercepted the protesters and convinced them to disperse peacefully.