Pamphlets and fists fly at Delhi Assembly session

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Published:June 29, 2017 4:08 am

Two men were allegedly thrashed by AAP MLAs inside the Delhi Assembly on Wednesday — minutes after they sent pamphlets that denounced Health Minister Satyendar Jain flying from the visitors’ gallery. The two also shouted ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ and raised slogans calling Jain corrupt. Both men were evicted from the assembly, with speaker Ram Niwas Goel ordering that they be imprisoned for a month.

In a letter to the Central Prison at Tihar, Goel wrote that the two men — AAP workers identified as Jagdeep Rana and Rajan Kumar who were unhappy with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership and the alleged corruption cases against Jain — should be “sentenced to 30-day rigorous imprisonment starting today for committing breach of privilege and contempt of the House by way of shouting slogans and throwing papers from the visitors’ gallery leading to disruption of the proceedings of the House”. The motion was unanimously adopted by the House, including the BJP legislators. Rana is a 2013 AAP candidate from Delhi’s Adarsh Nagar, while Kumar is an AAP worker from Punjab.

After the two men disrupted Assembly proceedings, security staff started whisking them away. AAP MLAs simultaneously made their way towards the two men, even as Goel asked them not to. AAP MLAs Nitin Tyagi, Amanatullah Khan and Jarnail Singh were among those seen heading towards the two men.
Asked about AAP MLAs allegedly beating up the two, neither Kejriwal nor his deputy Manish Sisodia commented on the matter.

The House was adjourned for half an hour as police personnel within the Assembly attempted to bring the scuffle to an end. Meanwhile, sacked minister and dissident AAP leader Kapil Mishra stepped out of the House and claimed he had called the police. When police arrived, Mishra urged them to “save the lives of the two men”. Rana was eventually brought out on a stretcher and taken to hospital by the police.

Mishra said, “What the two have done doesn’t warrant this kind of violence. What kind of reaction is this? This was a non-violent protest about corruption within the party by party members.” Mishra also reiterated that while he “knew them”, he was “not associated with them”.

Following the incident, questions lingered on who had issued the two passes required by the men to sit in the gallery. While many AAP leaders suspected that Mishra — who has been critical of Kejriwal and the party in the past few days — was behind it, Goel clarified that a “government official” had issued the passes and that “action would be taken against him after investigation”.

Eventually, AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj moved a motion seeking action against the men, which was approved by the lawmakers of the AAP as well as the BJP.

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