Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Monday witnessed stormy scenes and three adjournments over attacks on north Indians in Maharashtra.

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee first adjourned the House briefly during question hour and twice again when members from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh sought a statement from Home Minister Shivraj Patil and demanded the arrest of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray under the National Security Act and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999.

However, Shiv Sena member Anant Geete said the matter was not serious and blown out of proportion. His remark led to the first adjournment.

When the House reassembled, Prabhunath Singh of the Janata Dal (United) said he had given notice for adjournment of question hour to discuss the issue. The Speaker allowed him to speak, leading to an impromptu discussion with members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Samajwadi Party and other parties expressing resentment over the incidents that threatened the “unity and integrity” of the country.

Mr. Chatterjee also resented the incidents, and said the Constitution gave every Indian the right to live with freedom and dignity in any part of the country.

Initiating the discussion, Mr. Singh expressed anguish that Hindi-speaking people were targeted first in Assam and now in Maharashtra.

It was an irony that such incidents were happening in Congress-ruled States. In Delhi, the Chief Minister objected to people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh migrating to the national capital. This remark from Mr. Singh evoked protests from Congress MPs.

Disfranchise MNS

Devendra Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal demanded that the MNS be disfranchised.

Ramji Lal Suman (SP) wanted to know what steps were being taken by the Centre and the State in connection with the incidents. Shahnawaz Hussain (BJP) said the MNS statements against Chhatt Puja, being made for cheap publicity, hurt the sentiments of north Indians.