SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal today said the taking out of two AAP MLAs from the Punjab Assembly was an outrage “worse than the horrors of the Emergency days”. The former chief minister also described the incident, in which the MLAs were injured and later hospitalised, as “midsummer madness” of the ruling Congress. He also demanded criminal cases to be registered against those involved in the “violence”. The 89-year-old five-time former chief minister, who visited the two injured legislators of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Sector 16 government hospital here, called the events which unfolded in the assembly here today leading to AAP MLAs being thrown out by the Marshals as the “darkest day in the history of democratic India and a slur on democracy”.
“In seventy years of my public life, I have neither seen, nor experienced nor even imagined incidents of such horrific, shameful and repressive nature,” he told reporters at the hospital. Two AAP MLAs, including a woman legislator, were injured when protesting AAP members were physically removed out of the House as Punjab assembly today witnessed “unprecedented” ruckus with turbans of some opposition members getting tossed off in the melee. Badal said, “This brings back the memories of repression under the Mughals and the British. India has never seen anything so terriyfing in the most sacred temple of the democracy since Independence, not even during the dark days of Emergency”.
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“Today, the Indian democracy was shamed in broad daylight on the floor of the august house of the Punjab assembly. I am still finding it hard to believe my eyes and ears on what I have seen and heard,” the Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch said. Badal also spoke over phone with Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, H S Phoolka and expressed his deep anguish and outrage over the incidents. He said the SAD has always championed the cause of democracy and human rights and will continue to do so.
“The opposition will not take such an unabashed and full-blast assaults on democratic rights of the people and their representatives lying down,” Badal said, demanding registration of criminal cases against those who indulged in “such wanton violence against the elected representatives of the people”. “Under the Congress government, the elected representatives are not safe even in the assembly. Was it this peaceful Punjab that they promised to the people when they sought a mandate in the last elections?” the former CM asked.
Notably, Speaker Rana K P Singh suspended members of opposition parties – AAP and SAD-BJP combine – for disrupting the proceedings of the House in the ongoing budget session in the Punjab assembly here. After which both parties, in an unexpected move, joined hands to protest against the Speaker.
AAP MLA Aman Arora dubbed the alleged excesses done by marshals as “murder of democracy”. “A turban of gursikh and Dalit MLA Pirmal Singh tossed off by Marshals. What kind of behaviour is this with members of opposition,” Arora asked. Later talking to reporters outside the Assembly, SAD leader Sukhbir Singh Badal, said “If elected representatives are treated like this, imagine how this ruling party will behave with the common people.”
“The way turbans came off, it is an insult of the entire Sikh community. We will move the National Minorities Commission and the National Commission for Scheduled Caste against the manner in which opposition legislators have been treated, turbans have come off and women members were mis- treated,” Sukhbir said. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Kirpal Singh Badungar condemned the tossing of turban of Pirmal.
Badungar said a meeting of the SGPC executive committee had been called to discuss the issue on June 26. The president of the SGPC, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, alleged that the Congress always remained “anti-Sikh” and today’s incident proved this. He told reporters in Ropar that he would meet Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore over an SGPC issue and would also take up the tossing off turban issue.