Punjab Speaker: no casteist remarks were made in House

Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal Friday said no casteist remarks were made on the last day of the last Punjab Vidhan Sabha session held on September 14.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh | Updated: September 17, 2016 5:41 am
atwal-759 File Photo: Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal

Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal Friday said no casteist remarks were made on the last day of the last Punjab Vidhan Sabha session held on September 14.

Congress legislator Tarlochan Soondh had alleged that SAD MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha had used casteist slur against him during the session that infuriated him following which he hurled one of his shoes at Valtoha. The shoe had, however, hit Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

“I have perused the record of that day. I have gone through the CDs of the proceedings. No casteist remarks as is being alleged were made by anyone,” Atwal told The Indian Express Friday.

Congress reacted sharply to the development. “Earlier also, there were claims that nothing happened when Majithia and Rana Gurjit Singh were involved in hot exchange of words inside assembly,” said Congress MLA Sunil Jakhar, referring to a verbal spat during an earlier session of Vidhan Sabha, the video of which later went viral.

“When there was so much noise in the assembly, how could the Speaker conclude that no casteist remarks were made?” asked Jakhar, adding an attempt was being made to save Akali legislator. Soondh was not available for comment.

Valtoha, meanwhile, said Soondh was “tutored” to “cook up” the story. “That is why, he levelled such allegations outside the house and before media. All this was an afterthought.”

“I have learnt that broadly only two things have been recorded by the reporters (staff) of Vidhan Sabha. One was that there was lot of noise and sloganeering and due to that question hour and zero hour was cancelled. Second thing that was recorded was that a shoe was hurled towards treasury benches and Majithia took notice of that. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said something like that ‘this is intolerable’.”

Jakhar, meanwhile, said a complaint in this regard had been lodged with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. “A direct complaint to police cannot be lodged if something happens inside Vidhan Sabha as it is the Speaker who is to take a call on such issues,” Jakhar said.