Opposition rejoins J&K assembly proceedings

Srinagar, Oct 8 (IANS) Opposition parties rejoined the state assembly session after Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said he condemned and felt sorry about the incident in which an MLA was manhandled in the house on Thursday.

Following persuasion by state Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Syed Basharat Bukhari, opposition NC, Congress and independent MLAs rejoined the proceedings of the assembly.

The entire opposition had earlier walked out saying the deputy chief minister had not apologised in clear terms.

The deputy chief minister was forced to make another statement in the house after which the opposition came back.

“I have said earlier also the incident is unfortunate. I have already condemned it. I feel sorry about it,” he said.

Two ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs thrashed independent MLA Engineer Rashid in the state assembly on Thursday for hosting a beef party here the previous day.

Even before the speaker, Kavinder Gupta, could take his seat, BJP MLAs Gagan Bhagat and Rajeev Sharma pounced on Engineer Rashid and started thrashing him.

Opposition MLAs from the National Conference (NC) had to intervene to save Engineer Rashid.

Opposition leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said what was witnessed in the house today was unprecedented.

“I am still unable to fully understand what happened in the assembly today (Thursday).”

“The speaker is the custodian of the house, but we want to know what the chief minister has to say on this most unfortunate incident,” Omar Abdullah said.

Omar said whatever Engineer Rashid had done did not give BJP the right to launch a murderous attack on him.

“We respect and understand the sentiments of other communities, but that does not mean we can resort to violence to settle scores.”

“Alcohol is prohibited in my religion. Consumption of pork is prohibited in my religion, but that does not mean I should attack everyone who consumes alcohol or pork,” he said.

Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said the attack on the MLA was condemnable.

“This house has high values of parliamentary conduct. Whatever has happened here is condemnable and I condemn it.”

“I request deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh (BJP) to stand up and apologise for the misconduct of the BJP MLAs,” Sayeed said.

Nirmal Singh said that whatever happened in the house was unfortunate and he disapproved of it, but added that what Engineer Rashid had done the previous day was “both condemnable and unfortunate”.

Since the deputy chief minister stopped short of issuing a clear apology in his statement, opposition NC, Congress, CPI M member Yusuf Tarigami and other independents including Engineer Rashid and Hakeem Yaseen walked out of the house after which question hour started in the assembly.

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