- NC to boycott autumn session after 4 of its MLAs suspended
Junaid Nabi Bazaz/Moazum Mohammad
SRINAGAR: The National Conference has decided to boycott the ongoing session of the Assembly after four of its members were suspended following vociferous protests and chaos in both Houses. While the Congress supported the NC’s boycott on Tuesday, the party has not yet taken a decision on boycotting the entire, though brief, session. The latter eventuality would mean the autumn session would be sans the main Opposition.
It was the second consecutive day of pandemonium in the upper House on Tuesday with the opposition parties, including independent members, protesting and storming the well of the House.
They were demanding that the House be adjourned and a discussion held on Article 35A, regularisation of daily wagers, casual labourers and NYC workers. As soon the Speaker Kavinder Gupta entered the house, National Conference and Congress legislators took out banners emblazoned with “Save article 35A; Save rights of state subjects”; shouted slogans against the BJP and PDP and trooped into the well of the House.
Gupta intervened and said he would allow a discussion on these issues after the end of question hour, otherwise it “would be against rule no 7 of the House proceedings.” Amidst this chaos, Ali Mohammad Sagar charged the Speaker with being biased. “You are not an impartial Speaker who listens to members across party lines. We have not come here with grenades and bombs. You suppress our voice and follow the CM’s guidelines on allowing issues for discussion. You deleted our questions without any justification. When we were governing the state, the PDP was given space to raise issues. But today we are not being allowed to do so,” Sagar said.
“Nobody has disallowed discussion,” responded Law Minister Basharat Bukhari, “it is against rules to start a discussion on these issues during the question hour session. You have also been the law minister, and you must know that. Also, I must tell you that we will safeguard Article 35A and there is no need to prod us on that.”
But as soon as Bukhari finished, Congressman GM Saroori shouted: “It is a state of hopelessness that issues about the regularisation of daily wagers, casual labourers and NYC workers are not being discussed in the House. Four of the NYC workers have been admitted to hospital but the government is not interested in hearing their concerns. No power can tamper with Article 35A”.
In this din, the Speaker started hearing questions and answers from members while the opposition kept up sloganeering, jumped into the well and even wrestled with the marshals. While the Speaker did pay any heed to the protesting members, Independent MLA Abdul Rashid and National Conference legislator Altaf Kaloo interrupted R&B Minister Altaf Bukhari, Sports Minister Imran Raza Ansari and others either by taking away the mike from them or shouting slogans while standing close by as they were answering questions. However, the CM directed his ministers not to react and continue with their answers.
At one point, Ansari lost his cool and said, “You (NC, Congress) have sucked the blood of Kashmiris. You have made the state bankrupt and we are bearing the burnt.”
At 10:30 am when the Opposition failed to convince the Speaker, they actually started a ‘separate session’ in the Assembly with Mubarak Gul acting as the ‘Speaker’.
Marshals then swung into action and evicted Majid Larway and Altaf Kaloo, and as they were being taken out, they tore up some papers. At 11 am the NC, Congress, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and Hakeem Yaseen staged a walk-out while Independent MLA Abdul Rasheed kept on interrupting every member till the end of the session. A BJP legislator even sought an ‘oath’ from Rasheed to not to interrupt him during his talk.
The session finally ended at 1:30 pm without any adjournment.
In the Legislative Council (LC), two NC legislators were suspended while others were marshaled out after a ruckus following the demand of a debate on Article 35 (A). As soon as the LC started, noisy scenes were witnessed after the Opposition members stood on their seats, shouting anti-government slogans.
LC Chairman Anayat Ali asked the members to sit down and allow question hour to proceed. But NC and Congress members kept up the sloganeering, prompting Law Minister Basharat Bukhari to intervene. “There is a way of asking questions? How can you ask questions off-hand (sic)?” Bukhari said.
The Chairman also asked the Opposition to calm down, saying “The matter (Article 35 A) is sub-judice and can’t be discussed in the House. The matter is in the apex court”. However, NC members led by Ali Mohammad Dar jumped into the well of House shouting slogans against the PDP-BJP government, on protecting Article 370, and against the “Nagpur (where the RSS HQ is located) regime” and Mufti and Modi.
Minister of consumer affairs and public distribution Choudhary Zulfikar tried to intervene by saying the House was “not a sports stadium”. Deputy CM Nirmal Singh, however, said the Opposition had swindled funds while leaving the liability for the current coalition government. “They are responsible for the situation in the state,” Singh said.
NC members Ali Mohammad Dar and Showkat Ahmad Ganai climbed on the reporter’s table, leading the treasury benches to seek their suspension. On this, the Chairman suspended the duo while ordering marshals to remove other members from the House. The proceedings continued without the Opposition.
Aap ko apne papa ki kasam hai mujhe bolne do (In your father’s name, please let me speak)
BJP MLA Satpal Sharma to Er Rashid
The ‘drunk’ and the Haji
MLA Er Rashid to education minister Naeem Akhtar who performed Hajj recently: ‘Haji sahib aap ko mubarak ho’
Taking it be a sarcastic remark, Akhtar says, “Why are you so derogatory.”
“Rashid sahab nashe main hain..Isne kuch jadi booti li hai (Rashid sahab is drunk, he has taken some ‘herb’)
MLA Kupwara Bashir Dar