Pandemonium prevailed in Jammu and Kashmir assembly on Monday as banner-waving members of the legislative assembly of opposition National Conference and the Congress stormed the well over beef ban and other issues.
As soon as the house assembled, the NC and the Congress members started their protest, displaying banners in the well of the house against alleged “politics over flood relief” and tax on Vaishnodevi pilgrims.
The NC members raised slogans against the beef ban and what they termed as 'interference in religious matters'.
The opposition raised slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party-Peoples Democratic Party coalition government and accused it of exploiting the flood victims.
A few MLAs jostled with the marshals who stopped them from charging towards the treasury benches and the chair. Congress MLA from Bandipora Usman Abdul Majeed was injured along with a marshal who was carried out by his colleagues as he was writhing in pain.
Chaos prevailed as the agitated lawmakers climbed on the tables in front of the Speaker, falling over each other in the melee. Two MLAs of the National Conference -- Abdul Majid Larmi and Ishfaq Sheikh -- were marshalled out of the House.
The NC and Congress members were joined by independent MLAs Shiekh Abdul Rashid and Hakim Mohammad Yasin in the protest.
The opposition MLAs tore papers as they raised slogans against the PDP-BJP coalition government.
Amid pandemonium, the Speaker adjourned the House twice. But as the opposition did not relent, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.
Justifying the protests, former chief minister Omar Abdullah said it was 'biased' Speaker who was not allowing the House to function.
"It is the Speaker, through his actions and words, who is not allowing the House to function. We have the most biased Speaker. This Speaker is biased, look at his statements. He is preventing functioning of the House, not us," said Abdullah.
"To save his government, the Chief Minister is disempowering legislature. The Speaker doesn't allow the opposition to do its work. Our conduct in the House depends on the conduct of the Speaker; if he throttles us, we will have no option," he added.
Separate Bills have been moved in the assembly to scrap Section 298-A and 298-B of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) that criminalise the sale and consumption of beef in the state.
The state government has approached the Supreme Court after the Srinagar and Jammu wings of the High Court gave conflicting orders pertaining to the beef ban law.
The Jammu wing of the High Court had on September 8 directed the state police chief to enforce a ban on the sale of beef in the state and take action against those defying the order.
A week later, the Srinagar wing of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court admitted a petition that sought the striking down of the provision of the RPC banning the slaughter of cows.