SAD, AAP disrupt Punjab Assembly proceedings over DGPs Kartarpur remarks

Kusum Tewari

Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 24

Opposition parties Aam Aadmi Party and Shiromani Akali Dal interrupted Punjab Assembly proceedings on Monday as they demanded Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta’s dismissal over his recent controversy over a purported statement he made on the Kartarpur Corridor.

As Opposition refused to let the House function, Speaker Rana KP Singh ordered eviction of AAP legislators from the House.

Chaos reigned in the Budget Session of the Punjab Assembly as AAP and Akali MLAs interrupted the Assembly session to protest the remarks. Speaker Rana KP Singh tried to calm the house down, saying that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh would make a statement in the House on Tuesday.

The Speaker’s order came after the House staff reported that opposition MLAs had switched off the speakers on their tables.

Akali Dal leader Harinder Pal Chandumajra and AAP’s Rupinder Kaur Ruby jostled with the watch and ward staff stationed in front of the Speaker’s chair to break the defence line in front of the Speaker. Women AAP legislators Ruby, Saravjit Kaur Manuke and Baljinder Kaur also tried to push aside policewoman standing in front of the Speaker.

The Speaker, however, did not mention the names of two BJP leaders in the house.

AAP rebel Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who made an appearance in the Assembly after a long hiatus, wanted the state government to issue a statement responding to the controversy.

Two Punjab ministers—Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Brahm Mohindra later intervened to ask the Speaker to let off the MLAs with a warning. Without making any such promises, however, Speaker Rana KP Singh eventually adjourned the House for the day.

Eventually, opposition protests forced the Speaker to adjourn the House. 

Opposition parties also staged a protest outside the Punjab Assembly over the matter, with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) saying Director General of Police (DGP) Gupta “should also be booked and sent to jail”.

Gupta on Sunday had said he expressed his “sincere regret” if a remark made by him inadvertently caused hurt to the people of the state.

“We want Amarinder Singh to dismiss the DGP for his highly condemnable statement and he should also be booked and sent to jail,” AAP MLA Harpal Singh Cheema told reporters here.

AAP members also carried posters of the DGP and raised slogans against the state government. 

Senior SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia lashed out at the DGP for his purported statement. “We want to know why CM Amarinder Singh and Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar are mum over the DGP’s statement…who (DGP) was handpicked by the Congress. We seek answers from them,” Majithia said.

Opposition parties had claimed that DGP Gupta had told a national daily, “Kartarpur offers a potential that you send somebody in the morning as an ordinary chap and by evening he comes back as a trained terrorist actually. You are there for six hours, you can be taken to a firing range, you can be taught to make an IED.”

The DGP had also reportedly said some elements based in the neighbouring country were “trying to woo the pilgrims and making overtures to them”.

Gupta had said he was being “misunderstood or wilfully misconstrued” as his remarks strictly pertained to the security and safety of Punjab and India. With PTI

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