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Somnath decries Bengal House unrest

He says the matter is shocking and condemnable and it is an attack on Parlimentary democracy.

india Updated: Dec 02, 2006 13:38 IST

Lok

Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Saturday expressed shock at Thursday's vandalism of the West Bengal Assembly by Trinamool Congress members and said he would raise the matter at the Presiding Officers' Forum as requested by Speaker of the Assembly Hasim Abdul Halim.

"The matter is shocking and condemnable. This is an attack on Parlimentary democracy," Chatterjee said after visiting the House and the lobby.

Asked whether, as the Lok Sabha Speaker, he would take any steps to prevent such incidents in future, he said, "I have a request from the Speaker (Halim). We will discuss the matter at the Presiding Officer's Forum and take a decision." Chatterjee, who visited the Assembly on invitation from Halim, said enacting a law against vandalising legislators was "permissible", but it was upto the speakers of the respective assemblies to take a decision on the matter.

"Merely enacting a law, however, will not do. It is a question of the attitude of the legislators," he said.

Pointing out that the West Bengal Assembly had a rich history and tradition, he said the vandals should have realised it belonged to the people and not the governnment.

"There may be grievances against the government. But does that justify an attack on the Assembly? If it cannot be protected, then it is a slur on the functioning of democracy in West Bengal," Chatterjee said.

He said those who do not follow the code of conduct inside the House betray the trust of their voters. "This needs to be protested against. And this is why even a cricket coach can point a finger at us."