Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pandemonium in Assembly over Rajouri situation

PDP stages walk-out after clashes with BJP; verbal spat between Mehbooba, Sagar 

People’s Democratic Party today clashed with Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lower House over the Rajouri incidents before staging walk-out in protest against the failure of the Government to defuse the situation while as Leader of the Opposition Mehbooba Mufti entered into verbal spat with the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Mohammad Sagar. Following the massive uproar, Speaker directed the Government to depute a team of Ministers to Rajouri to bring the situation under control and bridge the divide between two communities created by the ‘objectionable’ statement of Vishav Hindu Parishad president, Parveen Togadia.

The uproar in the House started as soon as proceedings of the day began with People’s Democratic Party (PDP) MLA Ch Zulfikar Ali accusing the Government of not taking steps to defuse the prevailing situation in Rajouri district.

"There is continuous curfew in the district and people are finding it difficult to get the essential commodities", he said, adding "we are living in a political system and not Governor rule…clamping of curfew and continuing the same for days together is not going to defuse the situation".

He further said, "it is unfortunate that earlier Government allowed the VHP leader to vitiate peaceful atmosphere in the district and now it is watching the situation as mute spectator". The PDP MLA stressed that Ministers should visit the district and defuse the situation by inviting the representatives of both the communities.

Ch Zulfikar was joined by all the PDP MLAs in questioning the Government on the issue. "Where is the Government….why Government is not taking the Rajouri situation seriously", said Abdul Rehman Veeri.

In the meantime, all the four BJP MLAs and lone member of Jammu State Morcha stood up in support of VHP leader. "Togadia Aayega Aur Aapki Chhati Par Paav Rakh Kar Aayega" shouted BJP’s Ashok Khajuria. "Some people are trying to gain political mileage out of the Rajouri incidents", remarked Ashwani Sharma.

On this, PDP MLAs started raising slogans—"Parveen Togadia Hai Hai….Hai Hai". They were countered by BJP and JSM MLAs, who shouted "Rashtar Virodhi Log Hai Hai". The sloganeering from both the sides continued for sometime following which Speaker, Mohd Akbar Lone intervened and said, "I have directed the Government to depute a team of Ministers to Rajouri in order to defuse the prevailing situation there".

However, despite Speaker’s intervention, all the MLAs of main Opposition party staged walk-out after about 10 minutes long clashes with the BJP Members. On this Speaker remarked, "Ab Tak Kahan Soye The Aap Log".

Expressing concern over the protest by both PDP and BJP MLAs, CPM Member, Mohd Yousaf Tarigami said, "it is unfortunate that people’s sufferings are being politicized", adding "let me make it clear that Togadia has not done anything good for the country. He is not only communal but criminal as well".

Stressing that Government should send a team of Ministers to restore peace in Rajouri district, he said, "we sympathize with the people of Rajouri and gap between both the communities there has to be bridged at the earliest".

National Panthers Party MLA, Harshdev Singh stressed that MLAs should behave responsibly and don’t try to communalize the situation in the border district of Rajouri. Hitting at attempts to politicize the situation, National Conference MLAs—Mubarak Gul and Nazir Ahmed Gurezi said that House should send a message to both the communities asking them to maintain the communal harmony and don’t fall prey to the vested interests.

Another NC MLA, Aijaz Ahmed Jan accused the PDP and BJP of not bothering about the sufferings of the Rajouri people and said, "both these parties have started new game keeping in view the forthcoming Municipal elections. They are only concerned about the votes instead of making an appeal to both the communities to maintain communal harmony and peace".

His remarks infuriated the BJP MLAs, who once again started protest on the issue and even entered into verbal spat with the NC MLA. However, with the intervention of Speaker, an order was restored in the House.

Soon after returning to the House, Leader of the Opposition, Mehbooba Mufti requested the Speaker to allow her to speak on the ground that several members had expressed their views on the Rajouri situation. However, she was not allowed by the Speaker, who even directed that nothing should be recorded of PDP MLAs.

On this, PDP MLAs again started protest and moved near the Well of the House. They returned to their seats only after Speaker indicated that Mehbooba Mufti would be allowed to speak only after the already taken up question.

Later, while allowing Mehbooba Mufti to speak on the issue, the Speaker informed the House that he has already directed the Government to send a team of Ministers to restore communal harmony in Rajouri district.

"It would have been wise for the MLAs to raise the issue only after question hour", Mr Lone said, adding "it is due to non-adherence to the already taken decisions that the proceedings of the House get disturbed and time of question hour is wasted". "You are welcome to raise the issues but I will not allow anybody to take this House for granted", he further said.

While commenting on the Rajouri incidents, Mehbooba Mufti said, "being largest Opposition party we have right to raise voice on any issue. We have the right to protest and stage walk-out", adding "Government doesn’t want to listen us". She even quoted verses from Quran Sharief while criticizing the Government.

The Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs objected to Mehbooba Mufti linking verses from Quran Sharief with the issue and said, "this is unfortunate on the part of PDP". On this, PDP MLAs again stood up in protest and started shouting at the Minister. Two PDP MLAs—Javed Mustafa Mir and Syed Bashir even entered into verbal dual with the Minister.

"Omar might have given Vigilance clearance to you but we have not. We will expose you as to how much assets you have created", Mehbooba Mufti shouted at Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister.

Accusing the PDP of politicizing the Rajouri situation, Mr Sagar said, "the Government has already given bit-by-bit details of the happenings in Rajouri", adding "some people are trying to flare up the tension in the district".

Later, while interacting with the media-persons outside the House, Mehbooba Mufti said that "internal alliance" between NC and `divided’ BJP was eyeing personal benefits in the upcoming Municipal elections due to Rajouri situation.

"Tension prevailed in Rajouri after provocative remarks of VHP leader but Government is not taking up the matter seriously", she said, adding "‘PDP wants harmony to be restored in the region so that innocents, who are struck up in their house due to the curfew don’t suffer".

"The PDP legislators are not being listened and not allowed to raise the issues of common masses in the House", she further said.

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