Oppn accuses speaker of bias, seeks compensation for avalanche victims

  • Navneet Dubey, Hindustan Times, Jammu
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2015 22:23 IST

Opposition National Conference (NC) and Congress accused speaker Kavinder Gupta of acting in a partisan manner.

On Monday, the Opposition created a ruckus over delay in compensation to avalanche victims in Banihal.

To pacify the agitating members, the speaker said: "The government will submit a report on the damages caused by the avalanche. You should maintain calm and do not create disturbance in the House."

NC member Ali Mohd Sagar told speaker: "You cannot take the House for granted. For the past three days, the government has not given any reply to your directions."

NC member Devender Singh Rana alleged the speaker of acting in a partisan manner. "Where there is a dissent, government tries to silence us. You do not let us raise our voice. You are not the custodian of the treasury benches but the custodian of the entire House," he said.

Soon after the question hour, Congress member Vikar Rasool urged the speaker that despite his directions, no compensation has been provided to the victims so far.

On Saturday, three persons, including two women and a boy, were killed after they were buried under an avalanche at Mahoo in Banihal. Two persons were also injured in the incident.

Vikar said: "It seems that the government is not concerned human lives. It is a major tragedy, despite your (speaker) directions, no assistance has been provided to victims". Accusing the government of being insensitive towards avalanche victims, Vikar walked out of the House.

The NC and Congress members also held a protest and criticised government of not adhering to the directions of the speaker of providing compensation to the avalanche victims.

NC member Mohd Akbar Lone asked the speaker: "The government is under obligation to inform the House about whatever happens outside the House. A direction from the chair is binding on the government. You are answerable to the House. You have no right to be in the chair."

Taking a strong exception to remarks of the Opposition, Finance minister Haseeb Drabu said: "You are abusing the chair. Do not create disturbance in the House. In the past, we have seen how abusive speakers were who brought disrepute to the chair."

Drabu said the government had followed all directions issued by the speaker so far. Of the three directions, two have been adhered to and third is under process.

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