Mumbai: Four newly elected Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) MLAs who attacked Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azmi for taking the oath of office and secrecy in Hindi were on Monday suspended from the Maharashtra Assembly for four years by the protem Speaker of the House.
Maharashtra minister Harshvardhan Patil presented the breach of privilege motion against Ramdas Kadam, Shishir Shinde, Ramesh Vanjale and Vasant Geete in the Assembly which was passed by the members.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan informed reporters about the passage of resolution outside the Assembly. “The question is not of Marathi or Hindi. Hooliganism is not the culture of Maharashtra. Everyone has the freedon of expression and only the Speaker has the right to stop an MLA from speaking in the House,” he said.
He also said the government will check the footage of the attack on Azmi to see if there were any other motive behind the attack. “We will take further action if required,” he added.
The Assembly witnessed ugly scenes earlier today MLAs of the Raj Thackeray-led MNS attacked SP’s Abu Azmi for taking the oath of office and secrecy in Hindi.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray had warned all 288 newly elected legislators, asking them to take oath only in Marathi. Azmi had refused to bow to Raj’s demand, categorically stating that it was a privilege to take oath in the national language.
"If they try to stop me, they could attract privilege proceedings," he declared today.
However, during the oath-taking ceremony today on the first day of the state Assembly’s inaugural session post the election of the new government, MNS MLA Ramesh Banjle snatched the mike as SP legislator Azmi began reading the oath in Hindi.
The tussle did not end there with other MNS legislators joining in and shouting slogans against Azmi. Ram Kadam and Shishir Kunde even exchanged blows with Azmi, with Kadam seen live on television slapping and hitting him on the chest and shoulders.
Marshalls had to be called in to control the situation as Protem Speaker Ganpatrao Deshmukh and legislators of other parties failed to defuse the situation.
The Assembly was adjourned for half an hour following the chaos.
Speaking to reporters later outside the Assembly, Azmi said those opposing him for taking the oath in Hindi were insulting the Constitution of India.
“I am well within my rights to take oath in Hindi and Raj Thackeray is no one to tell me to take oath in Marathi,” he said.
Azmi called on the state police to arrest MNS legislators, saying he cannot tolerate the insult of the nation, its Constitution and language.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who was present when the MNS members created the ruckus, termed the incident as "regretful" and urged that the legislators should be dealt with very strictly.
Defending the actions of the party legislators, MNS spokesperson Shirish Parker even argued that Hindi was not the national language of the country.