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Corruption rocks J&K Assembly, Opposition stages walkout

February 24, 2012 15:35 IST
In the wake of notices issued to the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and several others by the State Accountability Commission, Opposition parties on Friday staged a protest and later walked out from the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly demanding a debate over the issue.

As the Assembly sitting began, opposition Peoples Democratic Party led by Mehbooba Mufti demanded adjournment of the Question Hour and a debate over the issue of high-level corruption, nepotism and favouritism in the wake of notices issued by the SAC to the chief minister and several cabinet ministers.

Notice for the adjournment of the Question Hour has already been given to the Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone on Thursday, she said. However, the House was not suspended by the Speaker, who said that the issue can be raised only after the Question Hour concludes. The Question Hour is very important for raising issues of public and it should not be disrupted, Lone said.

The PDP, however, raised slogans against the ministers terming them as "corrupt" and against the government.

The SAC last week had issued notice to the chief minister and other government boards, asking them to explain under what rules they had conferred ministerial status to various politicians who were drawing salaries and perks of ministers though not legally entitled to it.

Intervening in the protest by the PDP MLAs, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said, "Do not violate the norms you have framed in the business advisory committee meeting in which it was decided that there would be no suspension, disruption of the Question Hour because of its public importance."

"You were there as a member to decide this. But you are violating. First raise public issues in the Question Hour and then raise whatever you want to raise," Sagar said. However, PDP members Basharat Bukhari, Abdul Rehman Veeri counter attacked him.

Corruption is affecting the entire governance. Corruption is the biggest issue that people want to know about, they said.

Mehbooba Mufti, who along with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, said, "Why are you (government) afraid of discussion when notices have been issued by the commission from chief minister to several cabinet ministers and other vigilance probes are on against other ministers. "People want to know about this as it is an extraordinary situation," she said.

After intermittent disruption of the Question Hour due to protests by the opposition, PDP MLAs trooped into the well to hold protests and urged Speaker to hold discussion over corruption. The protests continued for over 20 minutes in the well of the House before the PDP MLAs staged a walkout from the House.

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