Orissa guards to learn judo
Still smarting from the coin drama, Orissa Speaker Maheswar Mohanty plans to turn the watch and ward staff at the state assembly into a special squad skilled in martial arts. Their job: to deal with unruly MLAs.india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 04:40 IST
Still smarting from the coin drama, Orissa Speaker Maheswar Mohanty plans to turn the watch and ward staff at the state assembly into a special squad skilled in martial arts. Their job: to deal with unruly MLAs.
Under the new plan, the 22-strong watch and ward staff will be trained in martial arts like judo by the police.
This isn’t the first time the Speaker has brought about such an intervention. Last year too, after CM Naveen Patnaik injured his ankle during a scuffle, Mohanty had organised a session for legislators with Art of Living’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. That obviously failed to have a calming effect on the MLAs.
“According to the rules, an MLA is barred from bringing a stick or even a glass of water inside the House. But they brought in bags of coins and our watch and ward couldn’t do anything to prevent them. Hence, I’ve asked the police to train them,” Mohanty told HT. He clarified that the aim was to train the staff to control unruly members in a polite yet firm manner. “It’s not a question of physical strength but of tact.”
To say the ongoing budget session has been an unruly one would be an understatement. There have been instances where Opposition members have climbed on to the Speaker’s podium and even yanked his microphone off its perch. “With the behaviour of legislators bringing disrepute to the House, special training for the staff has become imperative,” Mohanty said.
However, not everyone shares his enthusiasm. Congress MLA Debashis Patnaik, fined Rs 20,000 for damaging House property, said: “We are not being allowed to exercise our democratic right to raise issues... We are forced, by the Speaker’s partisan approach, to rush to the well and disrupt proceedings. We won’t be deterred by mere training for assembly staff.”