Srinagar : Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was on Monday rocked by opposition protest over beef ban and other issues with banner-waving, slogan-shouting MLAs of NC and Congress storming the well, climbing tables and clashing with marshals.
Congress MLA from Bandipora Usman Abdul Majeed was injured along with a marshal in the ruckus.
National Conference (NC) raised the issue of beef ban with its leader Omar Abdullah questioning why the BJP-PDP Government approached the Supreme Court when the legislature is ‘free’ to scrap the 1932 provision in the Ranbir Penal Code prohibiting cow slaughter.
As soon as the house assembled, NC and Congress members were on their feet demanding that the Speaker suspend the Question hour to take up issues like beef ban, rehabilitation of flood victims and tax on pilgrims in the state.
As Speaker Kavinder Gupta continued with the business of the house, several opposition members jumped into the well and raised banners which read ‘Stop exploiting flood victims’ and ‘Revoke tax on religious pilgrims’.
The NC members raised slogans against the beef ban and what they termed as ‘interference in religious matters’. A few MLAs jostled with the marshals who stopped them from charging towards the treasury benches and the chair. Congress MLA from Bandipora Usman Abdul Majeed was injured along with a marshal who was carried out by his colleagues as he was writhing in pain.
Chaos prevailed as the agitated lawmakers climbed on the tables in front of the Speaker, falling over each other in the melee. Two MLAs of the National Conference, Abdul Majid Larmi and Ishfaq Sheikh were marshalled out of the House.The NC and Congress members were joined by independent MLAs Shiekh Abdul Rashid and Hakim Mohammad Yasin in the protest.
The opposition MLAs tore papers as they raised slogans against the PDP-BJP coalition government. Amid pandemonium, the Speaker adjourned the House twice. But as the opposition did not relent, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.
The National Conference, CPI(M) and independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid have submitted separate bills seeking revocation of the provision that criminalises cow slaughter in the state.
Omar said they were protesting against the “dictatorial practices” of the Speaker, who had earlier said that he would not allow any such bill.
“Today, unfortunately, our protest was against the dictatorial practices of the Speaker. Why is this Chief Minister so keen to not only disempower himself put also the legislature,” the former Chief Minister told reporters outside.
The issue of beef ban came to fore after a division bench of High Court in Jammu last month directed the state to strictly implement the ban in the state as per the law. The ruling evoked strong resentment from various quarters with many outfits, including separatists, terming it as ‘interference in religious affairs’ and sought revocation of the law.
The developments came on a day the Supreme Court asked J&K High Court Chief Justice to set up a three-judge bench to resolve the issue of ban on beef.
The state government had approached apex court against two “conflicting” orders of the High Court pertaining to the slaughter of bovine animals and ban on beef sale in the state, claiming these were being “misused” to disturb peace in the state. —PTI