Members almost come to blows in Kerala house

June 30th, 2011 - 6:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 30 (IANS) Bedlam prevailed in the Kerala assembly Thursday as members of the treasury and opposition benches almost came to blows over the alleged rough treatment of a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator by police during a student protest here.

The ugly episode occurred as Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was replying to a leave for an adjournment motion, moved by CPI-M member and former home minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, seeking a discussion on the events that led to agitating students being roughly treated by police Wednesday,

CPI-M legislator R.Rajesh, who was with the students, was roughed up by the police, said Balakrishnan.

As Chandy said that police had made a ring around Rajesh and he was not attacked by the police as claimed, CPI-M’s Babu M.Palissery got up from his seat, took along Rajesh who was seated in the last row, and advanced towards Chandy.

Seeing this, treasury bench members also rushed towards Chandy to shield him, while many others from the opposition benches also rushed towards Rajesh and Palissery.

Sensing that things could go out of hand, Speaker G.Karthikeyan immediately brought in the watch and ward staff to separate the members and adjourned the house. By then legislators from both sides were heatedly arguing among themselves and trading charges and appeared to be on the verge of exchanging blows.

In the next two hours, the speaker engaged in closed-door discussions with top leaders of the parties and, after the house re-assembled, Karthikeyan came down heavily on the conduct of the members.

“What happened here was really unfortunate and never before has anyone gone to the chief minister like this in the floor of the assembly. Being an MLA does not mean one can do anything. Palissery is severely reprimanded for his outrageous act and such incidents will not be tolerated again and if it happens then more serious actions would be coming,” the speaker warned.

As Karthikeyan denied leave for the opposition’s adjournment motion, Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan said that they are boycotting the day’s proceedings and led out all the opposition members, who by then were shouting slogans, demanding strict action against police officials who roughed up Rajesh.

The speaker then rushed through the proceedings listed for the day and adjourned the house till Friday next week when the first budget of the Chandy government would be presented by Finance Minister K.M.Mani.

Since the past week, the opposition-backed student unions are on a war path, charging the Chandy government of adopting a policy that favours the private management who run more than a dozen medical colleges in the professional education sector.

But Chandy has said the government was just following the same policy that the Achuthanandan-led Left Democratic government followed from 2006-2010.

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