Chidambaram drowned out in din, parliament adjourned again (Lead)

December 23rd, 2008 - 3:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Somnath ChatterjeeNew Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) Both houses of parliament were adjourned Tuesday over demands for Minority Affairs Minister A.R. Antulay’s resignation following his remarks on the death of a Maharashtra police officer, with even Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s much awaited statement on the issue being drowned out in the din in the Lok Sabha.The uproar over Antulay’s remarks questioning the circumstances leading to the death of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare during the Mumbai terror strike echoed both in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha with opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) MPs staging noisy protests. Both houses were adjourned till 2 p.m.

Chidambaram began his statement in the Lok Sabha by recounting the sequence of events that led to death of three police officers travelling in a car near Cama hospital on the night of Nov 26 when terrorists struck Mumbai.

The three officers were Karkare, Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte and anti-recovery squad chief and ‘encounter specialist’ Vijay Salaskar.

“Based on three eyewitness accounts the Mumbai police reconstructed the exact sequence of events that night,” he said.

The accounts were from Mohammed Ajmal Amin alias Kasab, the only terrorist who was caught alive, Arun Jadav, a police official, and Maruti Madhav, a driver working for the Maharashtra government.

“As soon as Karkare reached his home in Dadar at 21.45, he was alerted by his staff. He got into a car with one IPS officer and four constables,” said Chidambaram.

Before he could proceed further, the BJP MPs who had already staged a walkout began shouting from the far end of the hall.

As the din continued, an exasperated Speaker Somnath Chatterjee asked Chidambaram to table the statement.

Antulay had hinted that Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare’s death could be linked to the Sep 29 Malegaon bombing he was investigating and in which members of Hindu radical groups are the main suspects.

Cries for his resignation had begun in the morning itself.

Soon after the house started its proceedings, NDA members shouted slogans and marched towards the speaker’s podium demanding Antulay’s removal.

Amid the pandemonium, the speaker had adjourned the house till noon.

“We are agitated over the issue that made a minister (Antulay) hero in Pakistan,” Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha L.K Advani said.

The Left members also shouted slogans against the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, which was introduced in the house Monday to increase the cap on foreign investment in the sector.

Similar scenes were played out in the Rajya Sabha.

The upper house was first adjourned within three minutes of convening for the last day of the current session, with opposition MPs demanding a statement from Chidambaram or the prime minister over Antulay’s remarks.

At the same time, MPs from Communist parties shouted slogans against the introduction of the bill that seeks to reform the insurance sector.

Presiding over the house, Vice President Hamid Ansari said: “Honorable members, this house is violating its own dignity. I have no option but to adjourn it till noon.”

When the upper house reconvened after the adjournment, NDA MPs continued to shout slogans demanding the resignation of Antulay, forcing another adjournment till 2 p.m.

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