Raipur: The issue of sterilisation deaths in Chhattisgarh rocked the state Assembly on the opening day of Winter Session on Monday with main Opposition Congress mounting an attack on the BJP government over the tragedy and demanding resignation of Chief Minister Raman Singh.
Botched sterilisation surgeries at government organised health camps had left 13 women dead in Bilaspur district last month.
Congress legislators came to the House wearing black shawls as a mark of protest and demanded resignation of Singh and dismissal of Health Minister Amar Agrawal.
As soon as the Question Hour began, Leader of Opposition T S Singhdeo raised the matter along with other issues, including killing of CRPF men by Naxals in Sukma district and uniforms of the martyred personnel found in a garbage dump in a hospital premises.
However, Speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal asked him to raise the issues after the Question Hour.
Following the Speaker's ruling, Congress members began shouting slogans against the BJP government and demanded resignation of Singh and sacking of Agrawal.
Bhupesh Baghel, who is also state Congress President, said they will not allow the House to function till the Chief Minister resigns.
Meanwhile, PWD Minister Rajesh Munat and other ruling party legislators too started shouting slogans again Congress and asked its MLAs to stop their "political stunt".
Despite repeated intervention by the Chair, ruling and Opposition members continued their sloganeering, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for 15 minutes. The Opposition members continued to push for their demand when the House resumed and also waved placards.
Subsequently, the Speaker allowed discussion on admissibility of an adjournment motion notice submitted by Congress to the Assembly office on the surgery issue.
The Speaker said the discussion should be conducted in such a manner that it does not influence the Judicial Commission probe underway in the surgery deaths. He then read the adjournment notice presented by Congress.
Amid sloganeering by Congress, the Health Minister gave details about the operations conducted at state-run sterilisation camps on November 8 and 10 and the inquiry ordered by the government into the entire episode.
The Congress members interrupted his speech several times. Singhdeo said the CM and Agrawal should step down taking moral responsibility for the deaths.
Ministers Brijmohan Agrawal and Ajay Chandrakar accused Congress of avoiding a meaningful debate. Amid uproar by Congress, the Speaker dismissed the motion.