Bedlam in Kashmir Assembly over Afzal resolution



Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was in turmoil on Tuesday after Speaker Mubarak Gul rejected a resolution seeking the return of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's body to his family.

Independent legislator Engineer Rashid told a news agency that he was informed about the rejection of the resolution through a letter by the speaker.

"The letter read that he is disallowing my resolution. This was quite late in the night," said Rashid.

"It is unfortunate that the government is behaving like a puppet of New Delhi. Heavens would not have fallen had this resolution been put through to a democratic process of ... ballot system March 30," he said.

As the House assembled Tuesday, Rashid raised slogans to protest what he called was a denial of his democratic right.

Some legislators of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) entered into a scuffle with him.

This led to more protests. Congress legislators too were on their feet.

It would be "difficult for us to be a part of this (coalition) government (with National Conference) if constitutional norms were thrown to winds", said Public Health Engineering Minister Sham Lal Sharma.

The resolution sought the return of body of Afzal Guru, who was hanged and buried in Delhi's Tihar jail Feb 9.

Speaker Gul found himself unable to control the pandemonium and left his chair in huff. The ministers rushed to his chamber and brought him back.

Sharma's remarks indicate that the Congress is exasperated by the continuing protests over the issue.

Afzal Guru was executed after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition.

Ever since Afzal Guru was hanged, Jammu and Kashmir's leaders, especially from the valley, have been pleading for the return of the body to his family.

IANS