Speaker of the Punjab Assembly Charanjit Singh Atwal on Thursday suspended nine Opposition Congress MLAs for the remainder of the ongoing Budget session holding them responsible for the unruly scenes that “violated the sanctity of the House and denigrated the dignity of the Chair.”

Those who were suspended included Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, who breached the security cordon, Jagmohan Singh Kang, who seized the Speaker’s chair, Charanjit Singh Channi who climbed on to the table of the Secretary of the Vidhan Sabha, and Rana Gurjeet Singh, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parminder Singh, Kuljit Singh Nagra, H.S. Kambhoj and Balbir Singh Sidhu who had rushed up the stairs to climb on to the Speaker’s podium.

Case against six

Following the consent from the Speaker, the Chandigarh police registered a case against six Congress MLAs, in connection with the violence and the assault on a security man outside the office of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Wednesday.

However, the Speaker assured the House that he would make an announcement on Friday on whether the matter of security breach by the Leader of the Opposition should be entrusted to the privileges’ committee.

When the House assembled in morning, the Speaker announced the suspension of the question hour to take up issue of the unruly scenes of the previous day.The Speaker named the nine legislators and suspended them for the day. This was opposed by the Congress members who staged another walkout against what they later termed a partisan decision. The House was adjourned for about 30 minutes, after which the Congress opted to stay away.

“Anti-Dalit”

As the House re-assembled, various members from the ruling Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance, especially those from the scheduled castes, demanded “exemplary” action against the Congress MLAs, whom they accused of exhibiting an “anti-Dalit” bias. Ministers Gulzar Singh Ranike and Swaran Singh Phillaur, Chief Parliamentary secretaries, Sohan Singh Thandal and Mohinder Kaur Josh and about half-a-dozen MLAs said the Congress had beaten up the security personnel and denigrated the Chair as they were Dalits.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal Mittal also strongly condemned the behaviour of some Congress MLAs who thrashed a police man inside the Assembly complex after a few police personnel allegedly raided the CLP office to evict the girl, Tarn Taran, and her father who were recently assaulted by cops in public view. “A complaint in this regard was filed in the police station yesterday [Friday]. Senior police officers have informed me that they are lodging an FIR against the Congress MLAs involved in thrashing the cop and using casteist remarks against him,” the Speaker assured the House.

Various speakers said that when the Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognisance and the State government was proceeded against the erring officials, the Congress sought to exploit the “Dalit” status of the girl and her father.Revenue and Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia was on his feet pleading for more stringent action against the MLAs, as the SC members in the House and people in general were not satisfied with a single day’s suspension.

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