Assembly, Omar Condemn ‘Shocking’ Act; BJP Member Suspended
In a shameful incident, the state BJP president Jugal Kishore Sharma Tuesday heckled the only woman Minister in the State Government, Sakina Ittoo, in Legislative Assembly. Sharma was seen attempting to throw papers at Sakina and go near her aggressively but the marshals and some National Conference and Congress ministers overpowered him.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said “our heads shall hang in shame” due to the incident while the House condemned the indecent act by the BJP legislator. Following Omar’s intervention and call from the House, Speaker Mubarak Gul suspended the BJP member for remaining sittings of the session.
The incident took place during the Question Hour when Sharma accused the government of delaying construction of some flyovers in Jammu. He said for the past two years the government was repeating its assurances but no action has taken place on ground.
When the Speaker asked him that the Minister concerned has taken note of his point and he should sit down, the BJP legislator said his voice was being “suppressed”.
Sharma came to the Well and after registering his protest started walking out of the House. Amid noisy scenes, he had an argument with Sakina who was seated on the treasury benches. That is when Sharma’s conduct grew aggressive towards Sakina. “You want to suppress my voice. I will not allow this to happen,” Kishore repeatedly shouted at Sakina.
The marshals rushed towards the BJP legislator and surrounded him. But Sharma tried to force his way through the marshals towards Sakina, shouting at her. Other BJP members stood behind him.
Sharma attempted to throw some papers at Sakina but Congress Minister Raman Bhalla, who was sitting besides Sakina, stood up and stopped the BJP member.
Seeing this, some National Conference and Congress members including Muhammad Akbar Lone and SS Salathia rushed towards Sharma.
Sharma attempted to overpower the marshals and again throw papers at Sakina but Lone and Salathia caught hold of him. He, however, continued shouting at the National Conference woman legislator who by now was seen sitting motionless in her seat.
Unrelenting, the BJP legislator again tried to force his way towards Sakina, dragging along with him the marshals and legislators who were holding him back.
The Speaker ordered the marshals to take Sharma out of the House. However he resisted and was seen shouting aloud at Sakina.
Then some legislators joined the marshals to take Sharma out of the House. In protest, other BJP members staged walkout.
Intervening, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah condemned the incident in strongest words and said: “Our heads shall hang in shame. The House should condemn this incident.”
Omar said on one hand the elected representatives talk about the safety and dignity for women and on the other hand an elected member displays an aggressive behavior towards a woman member. “The derogative and aggressive posture exhibited by the BJP legislator should be condemned by the House,” Omar said.
Turning towards the Speaker, Omar appealed to him to order action against the BJP member.
The House unanimously condemned the act and called for suspension of the BJP member from the LA. A motion in this respect was moved by MLA Indu Pawar and adopted by the House.
“He is suspended from the House for the remaining sittings of the session,” the Speaker announced. “The MLA shall not enter the defined precincts of the House till his suspension is in force,” he ordered.
Later, many National Conference and Congress legislators were seen approaching Sakina and consoling her over the incident.
Talking to media outside, Sakina said she had only asked Sharma not to create noise in the House by banging the tables. “I told him that you should behave like a responsible legislator and listen to the minister’s reply,” Sakina said. “But he showed muscle power and misbehaved with me.” Sakina sought an apology from the BJP high command.
Law Minister Mir Saifullah also condemned the attack.
Rana asks BJP to apologize
National Conference Provincial President, Jammu, Devender Singh Rana Tuesday strongly condemned the behavior of State BJP President and MLA Jugal Kishore with Minister for Social Welfare Sakina Itoo in Legislative Assembly and sought an unconditional apology from BJP high command. Rana also demanded Jugal Kishore’s removal from the position of state BJP chief forthwith.
Interacting with media persons here this afternoon, Rana described the incident as most unfortunate, saying the attempted assault on a lady politician speaks of scant regard BJP has for womanhood. He sought apologies from the BJP President Rajnath Singh, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and senior leader Simriti Irani, who have been vociferously espousing the cause of women across the country.
He castigated BJP for the shameful act and wondered how can the leaders who vouch for reservation of women in the legislature and Parliament, apart from boasting to be the custodians of ethos, culture and tradition of Jammu region, stoop so low where they can’t distinguish between right and wrong. “Women, who deserve respect in a civilized society, can’t be belittled the way Jugal Kishore Sharma did,” the NC Provincial President said.
Rana said Itoo belongs to a highly respected political family of the state who inherits a glorious political legacy and has been winning her seat from south Kashmir despite all odds and had even fought valiantly against forces who made attempts to eliminate her thrice.
“For her exemplary political career and contribution to the society particularly towards women of the state, Itoo enjoys great respect and regard from all sections of the people,” he added.
Rana expressed his solidarity with Itoo and said that National Conference will not take such an attempt of assault casually. He said the woman wing of his party has already chalked out a protest plan.