OTHERS

Bihar Assembly steps up security measures

PATNA, JULY 12. The Bihar Assembly today decided to step up security measures within and around the House and terminate the membership of those found to be carrying fire arms inside the House.

The Speaker, Mr. Sadanand Singh, announced the measures agreed upon at today's Business Advisory Committee meeting according to which none of the security personnel of any member or Minister would enter the portico and the legislators would dispense with their ``private'' bodyguards at the Assembly's gate itself.

It was made clear that a violation of the new directives would invite immediate action against private bodyguards, who would be arrested, the weapons seized and their licences cancelled. Even the members were warned against carrying weapons inside the Assembly when in session as it would invite termination of their membership.

The threat was palpable from the speeches of the RJD president, Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav, the leader of Opposition, Mr. Shushil Kumar Modi, and leaders of other political parties who endorsed the actions proposed by the Speaker.

The Chief Minister, Mrs. Rabri Devi, on her part assured that the security measures would be implemented effectively and plug all loopholes and ensure the smooth functioning of the House.

Mr. Yadav expressed concern over the posse of five to 10 private security persons accompanying some of the legislators and their easy entry into the Assembly premises without proper security passes. He said that any member of his party found carrying arms inside the House would be expelled besides the Government initiating action against him.

Echoing the same sentiment, Mr. Modi underscored that some of the newly-elected members were known to come inside the House with fire arms and added that he would not be surprised if the worst apprehensions were to grip the House. He also hoped that RJD members would desist from using the reporters table as a weapon.

The Congress(I) Ministers, Mr. Balmuchu and Mr. Phurkan Ansari suggested replacement of the old fashioned mikes in the interest of the Members' safety. The Speaker assured to do the needful soon.

While some Members wondered why the Government did not crack down on the use of ``private' bodyguards, Mr. Munna Shukla, one of the main accused in the Brij Bihari murder case, said that a situation should be created where none would be required to have security even outside the House.

The immediate provocation for today's actions was the incident of Monday last when an officer of the Assembly allegedly in a drunken state misbehaved with the RJD president. The Speaker assured that he would be dismissed and agreed to initiate measures to ensure the safety of all members which was threatened by the rampant entry of non-members carrying weapons inside the premises.

More than 50 MLAs in the present House are said to have a criminal background with at least six of them, facing serious criminal cases, coming to attend the House every day from the Patna Central Jail, Beur.

The worst part is some of the Members are sworn enemies of each other who would not lose an opportunity to settle scores with each other.