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HindustanTimes Sun,26 Oct 2014

Speaker's account on Punjab assembly ruckus

Charanjit Singh Atwal, Hindustan Times   March 14, 2013
First Published: 17:26 IST(14/3/2013) | Last Updated: 17:31 IST(14/3/2013)

On Wednesday, around 9.30am, when I was on my way to office, the Vidhan Sabha secretary informed me that CLP leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar had brought unidentified and unauthorised persons without valid entry passes to the Vidhan Sabha premises with unknown motives.

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As this involved a security breach of the most sensitive nature… I instructed the secretary to take prompt and effective action to cleanse the premises of unidentified and unauthorised persons.

Meanwhile, the session of the House began. During question hour, Jakhar got up in rage and raised the issue of some Punjab police personnel allegedly stopping the entry of some persons into the House. Before I could react, Congress MLAs started disrupting House proceedings… and staged a walkout.

Parliamentary affairs minister Madan Mohan Mittal got up to move a resolution about the security breach and breach of privilege of the House… At this point, Congress MLAs re-entered the House and began disrupting the proceedings. Considering the gravity of the whole situation, I left the chair for the chairman to conduct the remaining part of the proceedings. When I was in my chamber, I received information that violence had taken place in a portion of the Vidhan Sabha premises, and some officials of the watch and ward staff had been criminally assaulted. This further raised the gravity of the whole incident.

Then I got the House adjourned to first study the security scenario. Inquiries revealed that members of the watch and ward staff had been assaulted and mauled by some members of the Opposition, for which Jai Pal Singh, a staff member, has made a separate complaint to the Vidhan Sabha secretary for appropriate action.

As the speaker and custodian of the House, it is my constitutional and lawful duty to maintain the decorum, dignity and privilege, and security of the House and the complex.

All of these have been brutally violated. 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.

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