Mayhem over CM’s remark on Art 370, House adjourns sine die

Oppn MLAs uproot mikes, throw chairs; marshal injured in melee

Jammu: Amid high-voltage drama and scenes of vandalism over “expunging” of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks on Article 370, the state Legislative Assembly was adjourned sine die on Wednesday — six days ahead of schedule.According to the revised notified calendar, the Assembly was to function until February 7, but the Speaker Kavinder Gupta announced adjournment of the House sine die following unprecedented pandemonium, violent protests and damage to furniture by the Opposition, comprising National Conference and Congress legislators.The NC and Congress MLAs stormed into the well of the House, tore off papers, flung chairs, uprooted mikes and threw tables, seeking clarification from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti over her remarks that those trying to abrogate Article 370 were “anti-nationals”. The Chief Minister, incidentally, was not present in the House today.One of marshals was injured in the melee while NC legislators virtually came to blows with Forest Minister Lal Singh after a heated exchange of words following the damage to property of the House.As soon as the House assembled for the day’s proceedings, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah sought a clarification from the Speaker on whether he had examined the records of the proceedings with regard to the Chief Minister’s remarks and expunged her remarks on Article 370.The Chief Minister, during her speech in the Assembly on January 30, had stated that those who were taking the legal route to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35 (A) were anti-nationals. Speaker Kavinder Gupta had initially agreed to the BJP’s demand to expunge Mehbooba’s remarks, evoking a strong protest from the Opposition.Responding to the Opposition’s concern even as he evaded a direct reply on expunction of Mehbooba’s remarks, the Speaker said he had examined the records and the Chief Minister “did not mean what has been said over her remarks”.This reply led to ruckus in the House with NC and Congress legislators storming into the well and raising slogans against the government. National Conference legislator Altaf Ahmed Wani uprooted the mike and flung chairs in the air. Amid the chaos, the Speaker adjourned the House for half an hour.After the adjournment of the House, some of members virtually came to blows after Lal Singh exchanged heated words with NC legislators Mohammad Akbar Lone and Abdul Majid Larmi. However, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, PDP MLA Javed Mustafa Mir and marshals prevented the situation from getting worse. Amid the chaos, the House was adjourned sine die after two government Bills were passed.