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Ugly scenes in Jammu & Kashmir assembly as lawmakers scuffle

March 27, 2015 14:34 IST

MLAs get into a fight in the J&K assembly

The Opposition National Conference and Congress lawmakers on Friday disrupted proceedings in both houses of the Jammu and Kashmir legislature, accusing the government of misleading people on the issue of transfer of power projects to the state, and created ruckus in the assembly as Speaker directed marshalling out of some members.

Pandemonium prevailed as marshals tried to escort out members of NC including Devendar Rana, Altaf Kalu, Abdul Majid Larvi, Usman Majid and Vikar Rasool of Congress. Larvi suffered minor injuries along with one watch and ward staff when the opposition MLAs resisted attempts by marshals to herd them out of the House.

As the House assembled on Friday, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah brought to the notice of the House a news item published in a local daily about power projects. He said that there is an article on the reply given by the central government in the Parliament that power projects cannot be transferred to the state in view of legal and financial problems.

As the entire opposition was on its feet, Omar said that on one side government is saying that it will bring back power projects from the central government and modalities are being worked out, on the other hand side the Centre has revealed that these projects cannot be transferred to the state in view of financial and legal hurdles. "I want to know why is the government deceiving the people of the state and the government should reply to the people why they are fooling them," he said.

Opposition members trooped into the Well protesting over the issue, forcing Speaker Kavinder Gupta to adjourn the House for ten minutes.

During the proceeding, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basharat Ahmed Bukhari said the state government has not officially started the process of transfer of projects. Bukhari and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party assured the House that the state government was committed to fulfil the promise but the Opposition was not satisfied.          

As the House reassembled again, some opposition members again entered the Well and continued their protest, shouting slogans against the government, while others were thumping desks, disrupting the proceedings.

Amid the ruckus, the Speaker again adjourned the House for five minutes.

Talking to reporters outside the assembly, former CM Omar Abdullah alleged that the government was "fooling the people" on the issue of transfer of power projects from the Centre to state. "It is in the common minimum programme in their governance address that NHPC power projects should be returned to the state by the Centre and it means that the decision has been taken and modalities are to be worked out," he said.

 Citing the news report, Omar said People’s Democratic Party MP Tariq Hamid Qarra had raised a question in Parliament and the reply from the central government in the Parliament said that these power projects cannot be returned in view of the legal and financial difficulties.

"We wanted to know from the government why they are fooling the people. Why they have forced the governor to speak lies in his governor's address (on power projects). Who is responsible for this", Omar said.

As the assembly resumed proceedings after two brief adjournments, opposition members again walked into the Well of the House and the noisy scenes continued.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basharat Ahmed Bukhari, while giving clarification on the issue, said there is no confusion on the return of power projects from the Centre to state. "We have only just started governing the state. We have not officially started the process in this regard, but we assure you that whatever is in our CMP we will bring power projects back and process will start soon," he said.

To this Omar retorted, "We are not satisfied by the reply and if the Centre would have said in its reply that it is under consideration I would have still not raised questions on it. But the Centre has said that there are financial and legal problems involved in it so it is a clear cut answer on it.”

Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh then stood up and hit out at the opposition saying. "You have failed to bring back power projects to the state during your rule. Your government was in the state and at the Centre and there were recommendations by the C Ranga Rajan Commission on the transfer of power projects to the state but you failed.” "I promise you that we will bring back the power projects to the state. What has not happened during your period will be a reality under our government," he said.

Referring to the reply in Parliament on the issue, he said that process of submitting questions was done a month ago when our government was not formed. "It is because of that problem the reply had come," he said.

A dissatisfied opposition continued to disrupt the House with members walking into the Well and tearing answer sheets and other business material, leading to pandemonium. The members also tried to rush towards the Speaker but were prevented by a large member of marshals and watch and ward staff as Omar and senior members including Ali Mohammad Sagar and CLP leader Rigzin Jora were standing.

The marshalled out members later came back to the House and sat on the dharna while indulging in sloganeering, forcing the Speaker the adjourn the House till second session before passing of the grants of three departments in the din.

In the legislative council, the opposition members led by Congress member Ravinder Sharma and Sajjad Kitchloo of the NC trooped into the Well and sat on a dharna raising slogans.

The chairman Amrit Malhotra adjourned the house amid noisy scenes.

As the House re-assembled again, the opposition members did not allow the House to run smoothly and resorted to protests again and sat in the well of the House.

The House was adjourned again for some time as member Ravinder Sharma sought reply from the government on the issue of transfer of power projects.

Speaking to media, Education Minister Naeem Akhter alleged that it was Farooq Abdullah government, which without any MoU, handed over seven power projects to the Centre. "We are trying to bring those power projects back and there are no differences between the BJP and PDP on the issue. We will bring back these power projects to the state," he said.

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