Kerala Assembly sees UDF uproar over attack against MLAs, legislators booked over scuffle

NewsDrum Desk
16 Mar 2023

Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 16 (PTI) The Kerala Assembly on Thursday witnessed uproarious scenes as the opposition Congress-led UDF demanded immediate action against the marshals and ruling LDF legislators who had allegedly attacked their MLAs in the House complex, following which Speaker A N Shamseer hurriedly adjourned the session for the day.

As soon as the Question Hour began, the opposition members started raising slogans demanding justice from the Speaker and sought action over the scuffle that broke out outside his office on Wednesday.

Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V D Satheesan made it clear that the opposition would cooperate with House proceedings only if action is taken against those who allegedly assaulted their members including women MLAs.

"We tried to stage a sit-in in front of the Speaker's office yesterday as our right to present issues under Rule 50 had been continuously denied on flimsy grounds. But, the watch-and ward staff deliberately created issues there," he said.

Urging the Speaker to protect the opposition's right to raise pressing issues of people under Rule 50 during the Zero Hour, the LoP particularly demanded action against the deputy chief marshal and two ruling front MLAs who had assaulted the UDF legislators.

The Speaker, however, requested both the ruling and opposition fronts to keep themselves away from arguments for the smooth functioning of the House.

"The incidents that happened before my chamber yesterday were just unfortunate and unprecedented in the history of the Assembly... It should not have happened," Shamseer said.

He also told the opposition members that he had not taken any stern action even after they had placed a banner before the podium, blocking his view in the House, and some of their members had shot visuals of the protests on their mobile phones in the previous days.

Though the Speaker assured a detailed ruling on the scuffle later, the opposition front was not ready to cooperate with the proceedings and trooped to the well of the House with placards and sloganeering.

As the noisy scenes continued, Shamseer suspended the Question Hour, took up other businesses in haste and adjourned the House for the day.

As the House was adjourned early, the adjournment motion, listed for this morning by UDF legislator K K Rema on the incident, could not be taken up.

Later, Satheesan told reporters outside the House: "How could the opposition cooperate with the proceedings when a ruling MLA who had brutally thrashed their women legislators was present in the same House?" He charged that the deputy chief marshal, who claimed to have been injured in the scuffle, had behaved like a "CPI(M) goon".

Coming down heavily on the Chief Minister, he alleged that it was Pinarayi Vijayan who took an adamant stand that the issues that put the government on the defensive could not be raised as adjournment motion in the House. "The CM is scared of the opposition and its adjournment motions," he charged.

The LoP also criticised Sabha TV, the official channel that streams the assembly proceedings, for not showing the visuals of the opposition's protests.

However, CPI (M) state secretary M V Govindan accused the Congress-led opposition of making the legislative assembly a platform for violence and urged the public to raise a strong protest against this.

The opposition has every right to protest in the Assembly but the Speaker also has the right on whether to accept their adjournment motion notice or not, he said adding that laying siege in front of the Speaker's office after the protest in the House was something that had never been done.

The Speaker is the custodian of Parliamentary democracy and not allowing him to work is the biggest anti-democratic act, Govindan asserted, while speaking in Kollam district.

Meanwhile, the Museum Police have registered two separate cases with regard to Wednesday’s ruckus in front of the chamber of the Assembly Speaker.

Based on a complaint filed by UDF MLA Saneesh Kumar Joseph, one of the legislators who had suffered injury, a case has been registered against LDF legislators H Salam, and Sachin Dev, and also against the Watch and Ward staff of the House.

They were booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 323 and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), police said.

Another case was registered against all opposition MLAs who had participated in a protest based on a complaint filed by one of the house marshals, who accused the opposition MLAs of preventing them from carrying out their duties and assaulting them.

The case against the Congress-UDF legislators was registered under Sections 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the IPC, they added.

The Assembly complex had witnessed unprecedented scenes on Wednesday when a section of opposition UDF legislators who marched to the office of Speaker Shamseer, accusing him of being biased in the House, got into a scuffle with House marshals.

At least four Opposition MLAs and seven Watch-and-Ward staff who were injured in the exchange have sought treatment at various hospitals here, sources had said. PTI LGK HDA

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