The Day-1 of the winter session of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha witnessed ugly scenes, heated arguments and uproar over the issue of recent verbal spat between health minister Anil Vij and then Fatehabad superintendent of police (SP) Sangeeta Kalia, who was subsequently transferred.
The issue came up immediately after the question hour and the debate hotted up as Congress MLA Geeta Bhukkal sought apology of Vij over the spat and held that his behaviour with a woman Dalit officer was improper.
While some other MLAs of the Congress backed Bhukkal, several MLAs from the treasury benches, including Vij, Gian Chand Gupta, Aseem Goyal, Nayab Saini and Latika Sharma, wondered if it was proper to see caste angle into the matter.
Vij said that he was hurt to see Congress MLAs “trying to create an issue out of something of which they had incomplete or no information or knowledge”.
He added, “Inhe ya to poori baat pata nahi hai ya yeh baat bana rahe hain, haalanke aadhi adhuri jaankari hanikarak hoti hai (They either don’t know the entire matter or are trying to create an issue out of it, but little knowledge is dangerous)”.
The issue took an ugly turn when leader of Opposition and INLD MLA Abhay Chautala said that though the Congress was raking up the issue, it must remember that during the Congress regime, then Speaker Kuldeep Sharma had passed a casteist remark against an MLA Krishan Panwar from his chair. Sharma stood up contesting Abhay’s allegations which he held were false.
Both Abhay and Sharma then indulged in an ugly argument for more than 10 minutes shouting at each other at the top of their voice staring into each other’s eyes. The tempers ran so high that Abhay marched up to Sharma’s seat. Speaker Kanwar Pal had to intervene pacify them and he later got the arguments between them expunged.
While BJP MLA Santosh Sarwan also attacked the Congress, naming a few instances of attacks on Dalits during its rule, several members from the treasury benches and even Independent MLA Jai Prakash said people using caste and gender to rake up controversies should be condemned.
Vij gives clarification on issue
Vij told the House that he didn’t use abusive or insulting language for the Fatehabad SP and that he didn’t even know Sangeeta Kalia was a scheduled caste officer.
He said that the so-called verbal spat followed a discussion over the menace of liquor and drugs in the area, which was on the agenda of the meeting of the Fatehabad district grievance committee, of which he was the chairman.
“When I saw that SP started browbeating and threatening the NGO members who had brought up the complaint in this context, I intervened and asked her not to do that,” Vij said and added that when she did not stop, he had to ask her to leave as he wanted to hear the NGO members out in her absence.
CM defends Vij
Vij even offered to play the video of the entire meeting following which chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar stood up and said that the SP ought to have abided by Vij’s instruction. “Yeh inki (Vij’s) shaleenta thi ke SP ko kehne ke baad jab vo nahi gayi to khud meeting se chale gaye (It was his decency that he himself left the meeting when she did not),” he added.
Stating that transfer of SP from Fatehabad was not a punishment, Khattar said that the caste angle should not be associated with the transfer of the IPS officer.