Removal of turban triggers ruckus in Punjab assembly

Pauline Gross
June 22, 2017

Outside the house, as police massed to prevent the entry of suspended members, Akali Dal and AAP MLAs united and forced their way in, led by Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal. While Manuke fell unconscious after being hit in the head during the scuffle with the marshalls, Manjit Singh was injured.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh condemned the opposition for their "atrocious" behaviour which smacked of hooliganism in the House, former CM Parkash Sigh Badal described the incident as "midsummer madness of the ruling Congress party and an outrage worse than the horrors of the Emergency days". As the ruckus continued, the Speaker named all the SAD MLAs including Sukhbir Badal, Majithia and Ajit Singh Kohar and directed marshals to take them out of the assembly.

"Rana K.P. would now be known as Goonda KP in the annals of Sikh history due to his "nadarshahi" hukam (order) to suppress Sikh MLAs by tossing their turbans, besides misbehavior with Sikh women members of the assembly".

Bedlam prevailed in the Punjab assembly on Thursday with the turban of an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator allegedly tossed and two other legislators taken to hospital with injuries.

Leader of opposition HS Phoolka later claimed that turbans of three party legislators - Manjit Singh, Pirmal Singh and Jai Kishan Rody - were tossed in the melee. "We will move the National Minorities Commission and the National Commission for Scheduled Caste against the manner in which opposition legislators have been treated, turbans have come off and women members were mis- treated".

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"In the 70 years of my public life, I have neither seen, nor experienced, nor even imagined, incidents of such horrific, shameful and repressive nature", Badal told the media.

During the resumption of discussion on the budget estimates, Akali MLAs staged walk out, but soon after members of both AAP and SAD-BJP reentered the House and sat on their seats, catching Vidhan Sabha's watch and ward staff offguard.

He said that the Congress Government in the State is not able to accept their faults and is planning and plotting against them. Protesting AAP MLAs rushed into the Well of the House and raised anti-government slogans for disallowing the two members from entering the House. AAP MLAs were physically removed by marshals. Speaker adjourned the house twice and again ordered to throw out AAP MLAs.

The speaker hardened his attitude and this time ruled that the AAP MLAs not only be externed from the House but the premises itself. As AAP lawmaker Kanwar Sandhu put it, all that they asked the speaker to do was allow suspended MLAs Bains and Khaira to enter the House. He also doubted that the AAP and the SAD were conspiring together to disrupt the proceedings of the session.

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