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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

Congress MLA slits palm during protest in Assam assembly over poor state of industries

The legislator’s step led to heated scenes inside the assembly with ruling BJP MLAs demanding action against Kurmi citing breach of security for carrying a blade inside the assembly.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2019 17:10 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Rupjyoti Kurmi, the MLA from Mariani constituency in Jorhat district.
Rupjyoti Kurmi, the MLA from Mariani constituency in Jorhat district.
         

A Congress legislator from Assam shocked those present in the state assembly on Tuesday by slitting his palm during a debate on the condition of industries in the state.

Rupjyoti Kurmi, the MLA from Mariani constituency in Jorhat district, sat outside one of the entrances to the assembly, slit his left palm with a blade and then wrote slogans with his blood on a piece of paper.

The legislator’s step led to heated scenes inside the assembly with ruling BJP MLAs demanding action against Kurmi citing breach of security for carrying a blade inside the assembly.

Assam assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami has ordered an inquiry. The speaker has alsocalled for a meeting of leaders of all legislature parties on Tuesday evening to discuss the matter.

Kurmi might also face police action if any direction is issued by Goswami.

Meanwhile, Kurmi has written a letter to the Speaker apologising for his action and promising not undertake such protests in future. “I feel the way I protested was wrong, I could have [taken] other measures of protest,” the MLA wrote.

Kurmi was protesting against the BJP-led government for failing to restart operations at the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills, which have remained closed for several years and are likely to be auctioned.

He was also upset at the poor productivity at the Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation Limited plant in Namrup and closure of Hatikhira and Ailabari tea estates.

“The present government has failed to do anything for the workers of the two paper mills who have been without wages since 2017. The workers of the two tea estates are also suffering. I took this step as I wanted to do something as a true son of the soil,” Kurmi told a local TV channel.

Kurmi wrote “the honour and future of Assamese people would not be allowed to be sold off in the name of ‘Jati, Mati, Bheti’ [community, land and base] and ‘Joi Aai Asom’ [glory to mother Assam on a sheet of paper with his blood.

The BJP had come to power for the time in Assam in 2016 promising protection of the state’s ‘Jati, Mati and Bheti’.

Kurmi’s act was however not supported by several of his party colleagues.

“I was not aware of his (Kurmi’s) plan for such a protest. I have no objection to any democratic means of protest against the ruling party. But it’s difficult for me to support such an act, which involves hurting oneself,” said Congress legislature party leader Debabrata Saikia.

Kurmi was taken to the medical clinic inside the assembly premises where doctors applied three stitches to the slit palm and prescribed medicines.