Amid oppn protest, Kerala Assembly session ends in 9 minutes

by IANS |

Thiruvananthapuram, March 17 (IANS) For the second day in succession, the Kerala Assembly session on Friday ended in nine minutes, less than the previous day's 15 minute-duration due to the protest by the Congress-led opposition.

The opposition is on a warpath in the floor of the Assembly after their legislators, including two women MLAs were roughed up by the Watch and Ward staff on Wednesday during a protest outside the office of the Speaker A.N. Shamseer.

What has irked the Congress-led opposition legislators is the Kerala Police have registered cases against seven of their MLAs based on the complaint from the treasury bench legislators and the Watch and Ward staff. The charges include very strong non-bailable offences. On the other hand, when the opposition legislators approached the police and registered their complaint against the Watch and Ward and treasury bench legislators who attacked them, the charges were all under non-bailable charges.

On Friday, when the session began, Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan started to speak about the way the victims of Wednesday's attack have now become accused.

But the Speaker intervened and switched off the mike and called for the Question Hour to begin.

Soon the entire opposition legislators were on their feet. The treasury benches also got active and sensing that the proceedings might be difficult to go forward, Shamseer in a few minutes rushed through the listed business and adjourned the House in a matter of nine minutes and reminded the House that the next sitting will be on Monday.

Speaking to the media after the session ended, Satheesan said under no circumstances will they allow Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's autocratic style of functioning to go forward.

"Vijayan thinks he can continue like this by not answering questions. We are not going to succumb to his arm-twisting tactics in and outside the Assembly.

"The cases against our legislators were registered in the early hours of Thursday, and a few hours later there was a leaders' meeting called to discuss the impasse in the House. It was after that meeting that we got to know that non-bailable charges were put on our legislators, while in our complaint, simple offences were put.

"We will now hold protests outside the House also and unless our issues are addressed, we will not cooperate," said Satheesan.

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