Opp stages walkout in Assam Assembly

 Opposition Congress and AIUDF today staged a walkout in the Legislative Assembly in protest against the Speaker’s decision on reserving the ruling on an adjournment motion.

The Congress and the AIUDF had given separate notices for adjournment motions.

In its notice, the Congress alleged that the State government has violated the democratic rights provided in the Constitution by selectively targeting certain individuals and organizations and putting some people in jail on fake charges, while at the same time ignoring another set of people who have also been allegedly indulging in similar type of acts.

The party alleged that this is a direct assault on the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution and is tantamount to violation of the Constitution.

On the other hand, the AIUDF, in its notice, mentioned the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, and about the people detained during the protests against the Act.

Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami decided to club both the motions together.

Speaking on behalf of the motion, AIUDF legislator Hafiz Bashir Ahmed said that the CAA is against the spirit of the Assam Accord and also poses a threat to the language, culture and heritage of the Assamese people, while also violating the secular character of the Constitution.

He said that to protest is a democratic right and any effort to muzzle the voice of the people goes against the Constitution. Ahmed added that the matter is urgent and the Speaker should allow the motion.

Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia alleged that the government has violated freedom of expression by imposing Section 144 of the CrPC during the anti-CAA protest. He said that many High Courts across the country have termed imposition of Section 144 as illegal.

He added that many Congress workers as well as others, like KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi, have been arrested on flimsy charges.

In his reply, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said that the issue of CAA is sub judice as many appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the Act.

He cited rule books to state that action taken by the police to maintain law and order cannot be subject of adjournment motion.

Patowary added that there is scope to discuss and debate the entire issue by use of other devices.

After the opening remarks by all sides, the Speaker said that he will look into the matter and give his ruling tomorrow.

Congress and AIUDF legislators immediately rose in protest prompting Goswami to say, “I can reserve my ruling. That is my right… I will pass my ruling tomorrow. This is my prerogative.”

However, the opposition legislators gathered in front of the Speaker chair and raised slogans. They demanded release of all those sent to jail during the anti-CAA protest, as well as for the right to hold democratic protest and for free speech.

MLAs of the ruling BJP also trooped to the well of the House and raised counter-slogans.

Later, Patowary prompted the BJP MLAs to return to their seats. They did so but continued to raise slogans like “Congress-AIUDF bhai bhai”.

The protest of the opposition members continued for around 15 minutes after which the entire Congress and AIUDF contingent staged a walkout from the House.

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