The Punjab assembly on Wednesday witnessed a lawless protest by Congress MLAs against "lawlessness" in the state.
The House was adjourned four times as opposition legislators punched assembly marshals, threw legislative reports towards the speaker and even stood on the chair of the Vidhan Sabha secretary.
The skirmishes between Congress MLAs and the assembly security staff were triggered by the entry of "unauthorised" persons - including the Tarn Taran woman who was recently thrashed by the police in public view in the office of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) within the Vidhan Sabha complex, adjoining the House where legislative business is conducted.
Sunil Kumar Jakhar, CLP leader, admitted having brought the victim, Harbrinder Kaur, "without entry passes", to present her before the media for highlighting the "breakdown" of law and order in Punjab.
Trouble started at 10:30am during question hour when Congress MLAs led by Jakhar suddenly rushed out of the House after being tipped off that a large number of cops had "raided" the CLP office. The legislators chased and tried to catch the police personnel who were wearing white jackets - the uniform of the assembly watch and ward staff. The MLAs allegedly manhandled a cop, head constable Jaipal Singh, and took his identity card in their possession.
Later, the opposition MLAs returned to the House and started raising slogans against the "police raid". Some Congress leaders started advancing towards the podium, even as the marshals, with folded hands, urged them not to resort to violence. First-time MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring climbed over the shoulders of the ward and watch staff, who had formed a human wall, and was seen punching the marshals.
As Warring broke the first "barrier", other Congress MLAs Kuljit Singh Nagra, Parminder Singh Pinki, Rana Gurjit Singh, Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, Charanjit Singh Channi, Jagmohan Singh Kang, Balbir Singh Sidhu and Hardayal Singh Kamboj - virtually captured the podium.
As the House was adjourned till Thursday, Kang was seen sitting in the speaker's chair, while another MLA stood on the chair of the Vidhan Sabha secretary. In between, Rana Gurjit began thumping the speaker's table with the latter's wooden gavel.
Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal's repeated attempts to pacify the Opposition went in vain, following which he had to adjourn the House four times twice for 30 minutes each and then twice for one hour each.
When the House re-assembled after the fourth adjournment, ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Daljeet Singh Cheema initiated a debate on the motion of thanks on the governor's address.
However, Congress MLAs continued their protest in the well of the House. At that time, Akali MLA Gurtej Singh was in the chair instead of the speaker.
The Congress' "final assault" began when the assembly proceedings were extended by 30 minutes at 2:30 pm. Sensing that their protest was going "unnoticed", the Congress MLAs first started throwing books and bundles of papers towards the chair, besides thumping benches with books. Then, they forcibly managed to reach the speaker's podium.
The SAD-BJP alliance will move a resolution in the Vidhan Sabha on Thursday morning that tough action be taken against Congress MLAs. FIR set to be lodged against certain Congress MLAs who thrashed the watch and ward staff inside the House and a cop outside.