Oppn takes on govt in both Houses over beef ban, chopper service tax

Slogan-raising NC, Cong legislators clash with marshals, force adjournments

Oppn takes on govt in both Houses over beef ban, chopper service taxBoth Houses of the J&K legislature witnessed pandemonium as the Opposition kept the PDP-BJP coalition government out of business over the beef ban controversy, revocation of service tax on chopper rides to shrines and the rehabilitation of last year’s flood victims.

The MLAs of the Congress and the National Conference entered the well of the Assembly, climbed on tables and even jostled and clashed with marshals whenever the Assembly session resumed after brief intervals.

As soon as the Assembly proceedings began on Monday, the opposition NC and Congress legislators were on their feet and started shouting slogans against the government’s failure to address issues related to the flood victims.

The joint opposition wanted Speaker Kavinder Gupta to suspend the question hour to take up the adjournment motions on the beef ban, chopper tax and the rehabilitation measures for the flood-hit.

However, the Speaker continued with the question hour and the opposition members jumped into the well and shouted slogans against the PDP-BJP government. Amid total chaos, the Speaker adjourned the House.

When the House met again, the situation did not improve and opposition legislators climbed on tables in front of the Speaker and shouted slogans against the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government. Two NC legislators Abdul Majeed Larmi and Ishfaq Sheikh were marshalled out from the House.

The Speaker tried to pacify the opposition legislators, who were joined by Independent MLA Engineer Rashid, saying that he had received five adjournment motions and he could not allow the discussion on the beef ban under the rules. “Under rule 58 of the sub rule 7, the discussion cannot be allowed on this adjournment motion,” the Speaker said while adding that the beef ban issue would be discussed at a proper time as two private Bills were listed for later part of the session.

However, this failed to bring peace in the House and legislators continued to protest and some even tore papers. Amid the pandemonium, the House was adjourned again for an hour.

When the Assembly met once more, there were again clashes between the marshals and the opposition legislators as they were not allowed to storm into the well. During the clashes, Congress lawmaker Usman Majeed received minor injuries and a marshal too was injured, who was later taken for medical treatment.

Amid the pandemonium, NC lawmakers raised slogans against the RSS and accused the Speaker of being an RSS man. The Speaker replied that he was proud of being an RSS man and later adjourned the House for the whole day.

Later, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told media persons that the Speaker was not allowing discussion on issues raised by the Opposition.

The question hour in the Legislative Council was also adjourned twice today due to vociferous protests by the MLCs of the NC and the Congress. Soon after the beginning of the session, the opposition MLCs carrying banners and raising slogans “BJP-PDP hai hai” stormed into the well of the House. The NC demanded a discussion on the beef ban while the Congress MLAs wanted a debate on imposition of the service tax on chopper service to the Vaishno Devi shrine and the rehabilitation of flood victims.

Even though Council Chairman Anayat Ali tried to pacify the Opposition and told them to allow discussion on other issues “related to the public”, the protesting MLCs tore papers and threw files in the well following which the House was adjourned for 10 minutes.

Similar scenes were repeated when the Council Chairman resumed business with NC legislators Bashir Veeri and Ali Mohammad Dar raising slogans atop the table in the well following which the House was yet again adjourned.

The Chairman then returned just five minutes before the ending of the question hour even as there was let-up in the protests. Later, the Chairman adjourned the House for the day.

Talking to reporters, Bashir Veeri said: “Why did the government go to the Supreme Court over the beef ban? We could have discussed it in the House… we have our own laws.”

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