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Updated: March 14, 2013 04:01 IST

Congress protest rocks Punjab House

Sarabjit Pandher
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Congress legislators get hold of a plainclothesman who attempted to arrest a victim of police brutality from the CLP office on the Punjab Assembly premises in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar
The Hindu
Congress legislators get hold of a plainclothesman who attempted to arrest a victim of police brutality from the CLP office on the Punjab Assembly premises in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

Party says police conducted ‘unauthorised’ raid on CLP office

The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday witnessed the worst disruption in recent history, when the Opposition Congress members breached the security cordon to climb up the podium and occupy the Speaker's chair to protest an “unauthorised” raid by the Punjab police on the office of the party’s legislature office on the Assembly premises.

However, Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, while talking to journalists in his office, denied that instructions were given to carry out a search of the Congress Legislature Party office. He accused CLP leader Sunil Jakhar of bringing into the Assembly premises some persons who had no official permission. He accepted contemplating a procedure to deal with the security breach and manhandling of the staff. Recalling the 2001 attack on Parliament, Mr. Atwal said the matter could not be brushed aside as terrorists could also use the same route.

Earlier, angered by the “raid,” Congress members not only forced three adjournments but also threw copies of the various reports tabled in the House and manhandled security personnel deployed inside and around the House.

Congress MLA from Gidderbaha, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, grabbed one of the watch and ward personnel to breach the security cordon inside the House, while his colleague from Chamkaur Sahib, Channi climbed on the table of the Secretary of the Vidhan Sabha. Though Mr. Channi was prevented from climbing on to the Speaker's seat, other Congress members ran up the stairs and reached the podium. The former Minister, Jagmohan Singh Kang, occupied the Speaker's chair, but not before Gurtej Singh Ghurhiana, who was in the Chair, adjourned the House for the day.

The crisis started within 30 minutes of the question hour, when the Leader of the Opposition, Sunil Jakhar protested that the CLP office was surrounded and raided by nearly five dozen officers and personnel of the Punjab police without any authorisation. Having failed to pacify the agitating members, the Speaker adjourned the House for 25 minutes.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh, Minister Anil Joshi and BJP legislator Manoranjan Kalia as well as Mr. Atwal expressed concern over what they described as a major security breach on the part of Mr. Jakhar. They said that without obtaining an entry pass, Mr. Jakhar brought into the Assembly building a 21-year-old girl and her father, who had been publicly beaten up by uniformed police personnel in Tarn Taran on March 3. The Supreme Court has already taken suo motu cognisance of the issue and sought a record from the government.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal moved a resolution seeking action against the CLP leader for the illegality, which had potential to jeopardise the security of the elected representatives.

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