In unprecedented scenes from the Bihar Legislative Assembly, Opposition MLAs were forcibly carted out by the police amid protests over the passage of the contentious Bihar Special Armed Police Bill. Rapid Action Force jawans were summoned inside the House for the first time ever, and visuals show them forcibly dragging out the protestors. This turn of events came after the MLAs refused to allow Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha to step out of his chamber.
They were baton charged on the Bihar Assembly premises and as per reports, police personnel were also seen kicking and punching agitating legislators. Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Satish Kumar was carried on a stretcher from Bihar Assembly after he was allegedly manhandled by "police and local goons". And visuals show women MLAs of the Opposition being carried out of the Assembly building by women security personnel.
"I have never seen such activities in the Assembly. They (Opposition MLAs) should have participated in the debate. We would have replied to every question of theirs," remarked Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
"We wanted to speak but we were thrashed. This law means that search will be conducted without warrant and "any policemen can arrest if he believes something is wrong". No use of courts and magistrate," countered Leader of Opposition, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav.
But why is the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill 2021 causing such debate? Tejashwi's contention is only part of the issue that the Opposition had put forth. Introduced by the Nitish Kumar-led government to give its police more teeth, critics call the provisions far too harsh. Simply put, the new law would bestow the Bihar Military Police with new powers to maintain public order, combat extremism and more. According to reports, the general superintendence of the Special Armed Police would be with the government.
The new law would also empower a Special Armed Police Officer to arrest any person who voluntarily causes or attempts to cause hurt to any employee of the specified establishment to which the officer is attached. Neither an order from a Magistrate nor a warrant is required for this. Individuals can also be arrested on suspicion and the Act also has the provision to override other laws. The members of the Special Armed Police will also have some protection from legal actions. As reports quoted, it shall be lawful for the official to plead that his actions in pursuance of an order of a competent authority were done under the authority of such order.
(With inputs from agencies)