Turbans tossed, lawmakers injured in Punjab assembly melee



Unprecedented scenes were witnessed in the Punjab assembly on Thursday with the turban of an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator allegedly tossed and two other legislators taken to hospital with injuries.

While the AAP and Shiromani Akali Dal accused Speaker Rana K.P. Singh of letting loose marshalls on protesting AAP lawmakers, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh lashed out at leaders of both parties for unruly behaviour inside the house and accused them of trying to obstruct the work of the assembly.

Two AAP legislators, including a woman, Sarabjit Kaur Manuka and Manjit Singh, had to be taken out of the assembly building on a stretcher and rushed to a hospital. While Manuke fell unconscious after being hit in the head during the scuffle with the marshalls, Manjit Singh was injured.

Tension prevailed inside and outside the house following the incident.

Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal called Speaker Rana K.P. Singh a "goonda".

"Rana K.P. would now be known as Goonda KP in the annals of Sikh history due to his ‘nadarshahi' hukam (order) to suppress Sikh MLAs by tossing their turbans, besides misbehavior with Sikh women members of the assembly. He let loose his bouncers on the legislators," Badal told the media.

Pandemonium prevailed inside the assembly after AAP legislator Pirmal Singh Dhaula alleged that his turban was taken off as marshalls pushed his party legislators out of the house.

Dhaula came out of the house with his turban in his hand and his hair hanging loose. He alleged that his turban came off during manhandling by the marshalls after the Speaker ordered the removal of AAP lawmakers from the house.

Dhaula said he was an 'Amritdhari' (baptised) Sikh and his turban had been removed by the assembly security personnel.

"I will urge the Akal Takht to take cognizance of this incident and initiate action against those responsible for this," Dhaula told the media.

The Speaker had ordered the AAP lawmakers' removal after they protested his order, banning the entry of two legislators -- Sukhpal Singh Khaira of AAP and Simarjeet Singh Bains of AAP ally Lok Insaaf Party.

Both legislators were suspended from the house last week.

"This is the worst situation for democracy. We have not witnessed such manhandling. The Congress government is to blame for it," Dhaula said after coming out of the house.

AAP legislators shouted slogans inside and outside the assembly building against the Speaker and the Congress government.

Some legislators tried to enter the house again but the marshalls and security personnel stopped them. 

Akali Dal legislators also supported the AAP lawmakers.

The house was adjourned by the Speaker for some time.

Earlier, both Khaira and Bains were stopped by the security personnel from entering the building on Thursday morning.

Both were suspended for the remainder of the budget session last week but they continued their sit-in protest inside the assembly complex.

A visibly upset Amarinder Singh, who has repeatedly made his anguish clear on the opposition's behavior, said action should be taken against all MLAs who have been breaking the rules of the assembly and throwing papers at the Speaker, besides creating unnecessary ruckus over non-issues.

Asked if the AAP and SAD were conspiring together to disrupt the proceedings of the house, Amarinder said: "It definitely appeared to be so, given their conduct over the past few days, in fact ever since the budget session commenced." - IANS