Chandigarh: Nine Congress MLAs were on Thursday suspended for the rest of budget session for unparliamentary behaviour by Punjab Assembly Speaker who said a case will be filed against six members for assaulting a cop during Wednesday`s ruckus by opposition alleging police raid on legislature party office.
As the House met, Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal announced suspension of nine opposition Congress MLAs for the day for their unparliamentary behaviour and insulting the Chair on Wednesday.
The Speaker took exception to his chair being occupied by one of the Congress MLAs after the adjournment yesterday and termed it "an insult to the Chair".
However, pandemonium prevailed in the House as Congress members stalled the proceedings protesting Speaker`s action against nine opposition member`s forcing Atwal to adjourn the House for one hour.
Congress Legislature Pary leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar protested the suspension of the Congress MLAs from the House and left the Assembly along with the suspended MLAs.
As the house met again, the ruling SAD-BJP members expressed unhappiness with the Speaker`s "mild punishment" for the Congress MLAs and repeatedly urged him to take a tough action in consonance with the gravity of what had happened in the assembly yesterday.
Even as debate was in progress on a non-official resolution moved by Harpreet Singh of SAD on lavish spending in marriages in the state, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Madan Mohan Mittal intervened to raise the issue of Congress MLAs` behaviour.
"Whatever had happened was unfortunate, but the feeling of the House is that one day suspension was not commensurate with the mistake the Congress members did in the assembly," Mittal said.
"The MLAs of Congress must be suspended for the remaining period of the on-going session (scheduled till March 26) ," he said while moving a motion.
The House passed the motion "unanimously" in the absence of Congress member.
Atwal had first sought a day`s time to decide the issue, but later announced the decision in the afternoon.
Mittal also strongly condemned the behaviour of some Congress MLAs who thrashed a cop inside the assembly complex after a few police personnel allegedly raided the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) office inside the assembly complex to evict the girl Tarn Taran who was recently assaulted by cops in public view.
"A complaint in this regard was filed in police station yesterday. Senior police officers have informed me that they are lodging an FIR against the Congress MLAs involved in thrashing of cop and using casteist remarks against him," the Speaker assured the assembly.
The Speaker`s action came a day after Punjab Assembly witnessed unprecedented ugly scenes with opposition Congress members throwing papers, books and documents at the Chair and manhandling the marshals alleging their Legislature Party`s office was "raided" by police for forcible eviction of police assault victim who had allegedly entered assembly in an "unauthorised manner" without entry pass.
The MLAs who have been suspended are Jagmohan Singh Kang, Charanjit Singh Channi, Raja Amarinder Singh Warring, Rana Gurjit Singh, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Hardyal Kamboj, Kuljit Nagra, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Parminder Singh Pinky.
Jakhar alleged that the action of the Speaker is "murder of democracy" and urged him to review his decision
Meanwhile, police is set to register an FIR against six Congress MLAs Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Kuljit Singh Nagra, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Jagmohan SIngh Kang, Rana Gurjit Singh and Balbir Singh Sidhu for allegedly assaulting a Punjab police personnel inside the assembly complex yesterday.
Chandigarh police SSP (vigilance and operations) RS Ghuman, who is probing the complaint, said "we are looking at various aspects of the incidents before booking the Congress MLAs."
Sukhwant Singh Gill, Commandant, Punjab Armed Police had lodged a complaint with the Assembly secretary seeking legal action.
The complaint alleged that cop Jaipal Singh was beaten by Congress MLAs who also used casteist remarks against him.
In the Assembly, SAD and BJP MLAs, mostly representing Dalit community, lambasted the Congress MLAs action of thrashing a cop, who belonged to the Dalit community.
Cabinet Minister Bikram Singh Majithia was vociferous in demanding strict action against the opposition MLAs.
He said that the treasury benches were anguished at the treatment meted out to a head constable Jaipal Singh who was "maltreated, abused and manhandled" by the Congress MLAs.
Mittal said that the Speaker in the assembly was "unsafe" and Jakhar`s role of bringing an unauthorised person in the complex of the assembly was breach of privilege of the House.
"How can the House function smoothly by such unruly behaviour of Congress members," Mittal, who is also Parliamentary Affairs Minister, questioned.
"We cannot recognise Jakhar as leader of opposition as he is not cooperating in smooth functioning of the House defying his own commitments," he said.
Mittal and other MLAs of SAD-BJP combine described the Congress MLAs yesterday`s actions as "against the authority of the Speaker", who is also a Dalit.
Sohan Singh Thandal (SAD), Daljeet Singh Cheema (SAD), Anil Joshi (BJP), Manoranjan Kalia (BJP), N K Sharma (SAD), Ashwani Sharma (BJP), Pawan Kumar Tinnu (SAD), Mohinder Kaur Josh (SAD), Som Parkash (BJP), Navjot Kaur (BJP) and Majithia (SAD) lashed out at Congress action against the chair and the cop.
Most the members demanded stringent action like Congress disqualification of the MLAs.
Later, Jakhar told reporters outside the assembly that the Congress is united and will not attend the house for the day as a mark of solidarity with its nine members who had been suspended.
"We will not tolerate the arrogance of treasury members," he said adding that the raid by the cops at the CLP office amounts to breach of privilege of the opposition members.
"The Speaker should re-consider his decision of suspending the MLAs," he said adding that "we are prepared to raise vital issues concerning the people of the state."
"There is a jungle raj in the state," he alleged, adding that atrocities were committed against Dalits and the state is in financial mess.
"If police personnel can raid the CLP office in the assembly complex and later register an FIR against the Congress MLAs then one can very well imagine what is the plight of a common man in the state," he said.