Chandigarh, March 13: Punjab assembly speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal Wednesday charged opposition Congress legislators of “criminally assaulting” watch and ward staff while compromising security of the state assembly complex here.
Congress legislators clashed with security personnel and staff inside the complex as a young woman, who was thrashed and abused by Punjab Police officials in full public view in Tarn Taran district recently, tried to barge into the assembly during the budget session.
The commotion started when the woman, accompanied by Congress legislators, was taken to the Congress Legislature Party office inside the complex. The security and assembly staff reached the office to take her away as she had entered without a valid entry pass.
This was objected to by Congress legislators and this resulted in a clash between them and the security personnel.
Some legislators, who were inside the assembly hall, shouted slogans against the government and staged a walkout. They even went up to the chair of the speaker. Atwal had to adjourn the house till afternoon in view of the unruly scenes.
Atwal said he was informed that Congress legislators, led by leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar, “had brought some unidentified and unauthorised persons without valid entry passes to Punjab Vidhan Sabha with unknown motives”.
“As this involved a security breach of the most sensitive nature in the highest forum of democracy, I immediately instructed the secretary, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, to take prompt and appropriate effective action to cleanse the premises of any unidentified and unauthorised persons,” he said.
He said Jakhar got up in rage during the question hour and disrupted proceedings by claiming that police had stopped some people from entering the assembly.
State’s parliamentary affairs minister Madan Mohan Mittal moved a resolution about the security breach and a breach of privilege of the house following chaotic scenes in the assembly hall.
“I received information that violence have taken place in a portion of the premises of the Vidhan Sabha, and some officials of the watch and ward staff had been criminally assaulted. Enquiries made by me revealed that members of the staff were badly mauled by some members of the opposition,” Atwal said.
“This has never happened in the history of the house. What makes the incident even more shocking is that a person holding the highly responsible office of the leader of the opposition was directly responsible for this breach of privilege and security.
“The identity of the illegal entrants was unknown and, therefore, a potential threat to the highest forum of democracy in the state,” Atwal said.