Speaker agrees to legislator’s demand for expunging CM’s remarks on the legislation; Oppn protests; BJP MLA says its abrogation party’s ‘core issue’
Jammu: A BJP legislator asked the Speaker assembly to expunge Mehbooba Mufti’s yesterday’s remarks on Article 370. The Speaker readily agreed, sparking off a chain of protests, a walkout and two adjournments, underscoring once again Sangh Parivar’s intentions about the Article that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Mehbooba had said that those working to scrap Article 370 will be “doing a big anti-national” act.
During the Zero Hour, BJP MLA Rajiv Jasrotia, drawing Speaker’s attention towards Mehbooba’s remarks, said, “Some want autonomy, some self rule but BJP has its own ideology.”
He said BJP’s “core issue” was the abrogation of Article 370 and “we are not anti-nationals”.
“I too oppose Article 370 like our torch bearers Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deen Dayal Upadhyay…CM’s statement has branded all of us as anti-nationals for being nationalists. Therefore Speaker sir you should expunge the remarks from the record of the house,” he said.
Speaker Kavinder Gupta, who recently said in the House that he was proud of being an RSS man, issued directions for expunging Mehbooba’s remarks.
The moment he issued directions, Opposition members stood up from their seats and shouted anti-RSS, anti-Bajrang Dal slogans. They then trooped into the well of the House and threw House business papers into air.
“You are making mockery of this House. How can you do it,” NC leader Ali Mohammad Sagar told the Speaker. Firebrand PDP legislator Javed Mustafa Mir had a heated exchange of words with forest minister Lal Singh. Sensing the situation was getting out of hand, the Speaker adjourned the house for 15 minutes.
When the House resumed, Opposition again didn’t allow the proceedings, shouting slogans, forcing the Speaker to adjourn it again.
Later, amid acrimony, the Speaker said he will examine the records of the assembly first and then take a decision (on removing CM’s remarks from the records).
Reacting to Speaker’s second statement, NC working president and Leader of the Opposition Omar Abdullah said, “It is for the first time that the remarks made by the Leader of the House have been ordered to be expunged by a Speaker and such a precedent should not be set and CM should come to the House and retract the statement rather than Speakers expunging her remarks.”
While castigating the Speaker for changing his statement, Omar said, “When Sagar sahib stood up to ask you whether her remarks have been expunged, you said that after consultation with your party the remarks have been expunged but now you are changing your statement.”
The Opposition demanded that the CM’s should either retract her words or resign for the sake of the dignity of her post.
Amidst continued protests and chanting of slogans like ‘RSS hai hai’, ‘PDP hai hai’, RSS Speaker hai hai’, ‘Jhoothi sarkar hai hai’, the Speaker later adjourned the House for the day.
Earlier, PDP legislator and MLA Shopian Mohammad Yosuf Bhat requested the Speaker not to remove her remarks, saying “that will be against the tradition of the legislature”.
Outside the assembly, Opposition members held a sit-in protest and shouted slogans like ‘370 mukhalif sarkar hai hai, ‘qatil sarkar hai hai’, ‘curfew sarkar hai hai’.
The members then took a protest rally from the civil secretariat to the podium of the assembly and accused both PDP and BJP of playing politics. They said both alliance partners were actually in favour of abrogating Article 370.
While chanting the slogans like ‘teen sau sathar (370) se jo takraye ga, choor choor hojayega (whoever tampers with 370 will become dust)’, NC MLA Altaf Kaloo said “blood will flow on streets like water” if any one tries to abrogate the Article 370.
“Conspirators against Article 370 will have to kill NC legislators before attempting anything like that,” he said.
While talking to media persons outside the assembly, Congress leader Nawang Rigzin Jora said “this (expunging CM’s remark) has never happened anywhere”.
“Now there are only two ways, either the CM should take back her statement in the House or resign.”
“She is the leader of the House and her statement means something. The Speaker can expunge any remarks but as convention has established the Speaker has never done so and that too on the demand of a single MLA of BJP,” he added.
Speaking to media persons, BJP lawmaker Rajeev Jasrotia said those seeking self-rule and autonomy were “real anti-nationals”, adding the PDP should follow the ‘coalition dharma’ rather than making such statements.
“In a democracy, everyone has a viewpoint and BJP’s forefathers have laid down their lives protesting against Article 370. I am not an anti-national because the whole India has same views about this article,” he added.
While hitting out at the CM, Jasrotia said she herself has “humiliated the coalition dharma” and “I have only protested against what she said yesterday in the House.”
Also speaking on the issue outside assembly NC provincial president and MLA Nagrota, Devender Rana said that the entire House is with Mehbooba Mufti as she is the leader of the House and by expunging her remarks the dignity of the assembly has been insulted by the Speaker.
He said, “This shows the lack of confidence in the leader of the House by ruling partner BJP. Nowhere in the world, not even in British Parliament, has the Speaker expunged the remarks of the LoH and therefore CM should come to the house and either take back her words or resign as propriety demands for upholding the dignity of the house and the post of the CM.”
Asking the CM to resign as the BJP has now demanded the abrogation of Article 370, MLA Khansahab Hakeem Yaseen told media persons, “The CM used to say that she will not think for a second before resigning if there is any attack on Article 370. So today the time has come for her to walk the talk.”
BJP MLA Ravinder Raina had also raised the issue soon after the House began this morning, claiming that Article 370 “is defrauding the people of Jammu and Kashmir and its abrogation is the core ideology of BJP.”
He said the BJP will scrap the article if it gets two-thirds majority.
Outside the assembly, he blamed Article 370 for rise of militancy in the state and said that due to this article the development of the state has been hampered and there should be a discussion on the “losses suffered by J&K because of the Article.”
Accusing BJP and PDP of “fuelling the unrest”, Congress MLA Usman Majeed said, “The Kashmir valley hasn’t even been restored back to normalcy and these members of unholy alliance have started raking up controversial issues. They earlier raised beef, flag and other controversial issues which led to the Kashmir uprising of 2016.”
Earlier while being marshalled out for protesting against the BJP and demanding a discussion in the house during the question hour session, independent MLA from Udhampur, Pawan Gupta said the BJP owes an explanation to the nation as to whether Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deen Dayal Updhayay “were anti-nationals as branded by their government’s head Mehbooba Mufti in her speech yesterday.”