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LS Secretariat bars Jharkhand MLAs from paying tributes to Birsa Munda,triggers row

THE Lok Sabha Secretariat has denied permission to a group of MLAs from Jharkhand to offer floral tributes at the statue of Birsa Munda in the Parliament complex on the occasion of the tribal icon’s birth anniversary on Friday,triggering angry reaction from the main opposition BJP. The MLAs — led by former deputy chief minister […]

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: November 15, 2013 1:12:50 am

THE Lok Sabha Secretariat has denied permission to a group of MLAs from Jharkhand to offer floral tributes at the statue of Birsa Munda in the Parliament complex on the occasion of the tribal icon’s birth anniversary on Friday,triggering angry reaction from the main opposition BJP.

The MLAs — led by former deputy chief minister Sudesh Kumar Mahto — were planning to organise a sit-in at Jantar Mantar demanding special status for Jharkhand and they wanted to pay tributes to Munda before beginning the dharna. But the Lok Sabha Secretariat denied them permission,citing a 2000 decision of a parliamentary panel.

It is learnt that the MLAs then approached BJP Lok Sabha MP Nishikant Dubey. “I have sent a letter to the Lok Sabha Secretariat on my official letter head requesting them to facilitate the entry of the MLAs as well as some BJP workers to offer floral tributes. I spoke to the Secretary General as well,but we have been denied permission,” Dubey said.

“They are saying that nobody is allowed to pay floral tributes on statues situated within Parliament premises. As far as I know,elected MLAs can even go up to the central hall. But now they are being prevented from entering Parliament. On Ambedkar Jayanti,thousands turn up at Parliament to pay tributes. For the people of Jharkhand,Birsa Munda is no less than god,” Dubey said.

He said while the MLAs have been denied permission,no one has stopped the shooting of a Shyam Benegal film within the complex.

When contacted,Secretary General S Bal Shekar said,“The General Purposes Committee of Parliament had taken a decision on August 21,2000 that nobody from outside will be permitted to come and offer floral tributes at any statues within Parliament House. There are at least 34 statues installed in Parliament House complex and the Secretariat has been following this decision and it is appliable to all.”

He said the “only exception that has been made” is regarding the Ambedkar Jayanti. That function,he said,is organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. “That is a government function,” he said.

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