The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Monday witnessed unruly scenes as three youth suddenly jumped into the members’ area of the House, demanding implementation of employment policy.
The three youth — Manish Khajuria, Sunny Malhotra and Ambedkar Gupta — were overpowered by Assembly marshals and placed under arrest on the orders of Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone.
The youth, who had got passes on the request of expelled BJP member Jagdish Raj Sapolia to witness the proceedings from the public gallery, unfurled the flag of a newly-floated party J-K Democratic Front. They also raised slogans demanding implementation of employment policy in the state.
The Speaker immediately ordered investigation into how the youth got into the assembly.
Proceedings of the House were disrupted for a short while due to the incident.
At the end of the question hour, the Speaker directed initiation of proceedings against the “offenders” and Mr. Sapolia, who he identified as “their abettor”. Mr. Lone termed the incident as contempt of the House.
Mr. Sapolia and six other BJP MLAs were expelled from the party on charges of cross-voting during the legislative council polls in the state last year in March.
The BJP had asked the Speaker to disqualify these members but they continue to attend the house as they have filed a writ petition in the state High Court.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the youth came with legitimate passes issued by an MLA, who was present in the House when the “drama took place.”
“So, it is important that while we condemn this disruption, we don’t certainly need to blow it out of proportion,” Mr. Omar said.
“The law will follow its own course and as ordered by the Speaker, the Assembly secretariat will do what it has to do,” he said.
The chief minister said he was not sure which employment policies the detained youths were talking about, and added, “There are a number of employment policies which are being implemented or are in various stages of implementation in the state.”
“Unemployment continues to be a problem. No one denies that. There are more than six lakh unemployed youth with various educational qualifications...unemployment perhaps is the second largest problem in the state for maintenance of security and law and order,” he said.
Mr. Sapolia wanted to make a statement in the House about the incident but the Speaker refused him permission saying “you appear before the concerned authority.”
Talking to reporters outside the Assembly, the MLA said it was a breach of trust of the youth and condemned their acts.
“I had no knowledge of what they were going to do. It was a breach of trust and I condemn the incident,” Mr. Sapolia said.
He said he was ready to apologise to the house for its contempt committed by these youth.
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MLA Muzaffar Hussain Beigh condemned the incident saying it was contempt of the House.
Chaudhury Mohammad Ramzan of National Conference also condemned the incident saying a thorough investigation should be carried out into the antecedents of the youth as they were reportedly staying in a room at the MLA hostel.
The Speaker said he will order an investigation as to who were staying in the MLA hostels in Jammu and Srinagar.
“I have information that they were brought into the assembly in Sapolia’s gypsy (vehicle),” he added.