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Bedlam in J&K House after minister calls Afzal ‘sahib’
Mikes, benches uprooted; MLA marshalled out
Dinesh Manhotra & Arteev Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 12
The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly witnessed bedlam today after Law and Parliamentary Affair Minister Mir Saifullah used the word “sahib” with the name of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru who was hanged and buried in Tihar Jail on February 9.

The House, which had to be adjourned thrice during the first sitting, witnessed unruly scenes and a high-pitched verbal duel as legislators of the PDP, the BJP, the Panthers Party and the JSM clashed over the issue of Afzal Guru.

Demanding return of Afzal Guru’s mortal remains, PDP members resorted to sloganeering against Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who had on Monday ruled out handing over the body of Afzal Guru to his family. BJP, Panthers Party and JSM members created uproar in the House over, what they called, wasting precious time of the Assembly on discussing an “irrelevant” issue.

“It is a shame that the man who had masterminded the attack of Parliament was discussed in the House,” shouted BJP member Jugal Kishore Sharma.

In a bid to calm down tempers, Law and Parliamentary Affair Minister Mir Saifullah announced to make a statement on the issue. He said, “Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s stand has been that the mortal remains of Afzal Guru ‘sahib’ should be returned-it is also the stand of the National Conference.”

As soon as the Law Minister used the term “sahib” for Guru, pandemonium broke out in the Assembly. BJP, Panthers Party and JSM members trooped towards the chair. “This is an insult to the Supreme Court of India. You are calling Parliament attack convict sahib,” they said. They also raised slogans like “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vanday Matarm”.

PDP members also rushed towards the well of the Assembly shouting “Guru sahib ki body ko wapas lao wapas lao-resolution lao resolution lao”. CPM member MY Tarigami and PDP member Hakim Yaseen also supported the demand. Around 11.34 am, there was a complete bedlam in the House. Some members were seen standing on tables of reporters’ while as some of them hurled mikes and chairs.

Despite pandemonium, the Assembly passed grants for Finance and Ladakh Affairs Departments. After that, the Speaker adjourned the House for second sitting.

As soon as the House again assembled for second sitting, all PDP legislators were on their feet and created uproar in the House demanding return of Afzal Guru’s body. BJP, JSM and Panthers Party members again vehemently countered the PDP legislators’ demand. Soon a scuffle broke out between Independent MLA from Langate Engineer Abdul Rashid and cabinet minister Raman Bhalla which forced the Speaker to direct the watch and ward staff to forcibly evict the MLA from the House.

PDP members objected to the forcibly eviction of MLA and had a scuffle with the watch and ward staff. BJP legislators uprooted benches and turned them upside down. Amid uproar, the Assembly passed grants for the Forest Department with voice vote. Thereafter, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day. 





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