ASSEMBLY STONEWALLED, COMMITTEE FORMED OVER ULTRA-POLICING

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Assembly, continuously stonewalled, had to adjourn the forenoon sitting without transacting any business as the Opposition took police insult to Congress MLA Padma Lochan Panda as deliberate and contemptuous against the House besides being a breech of privilege.

Yesterday, i.e. March 9, 2006, in the afternoon at 5 p.m., Mr. Panda, while entering into the Assembly premises in a two-wheeler, was intercepted by surveillant police sub-inspector P. K. Tripathy and was physically obstructed from proceeding as he could not produce his identity card on demand. The police officer did not relent in spite of the MLA telling him that inadvertently he had left the Id card at his residence and his identity may be ascertained by calling any of the Assembly staff to the spot for verification of his identity. But the officer went on offending him with obnoxious words and kept him restrained till he was rescued by MLA Arun De.

The sitting today began to expression of anxiety over the issue that stonewalled all other business till the afternoon. Leader of Opposition J.B.Patnaik attributed the police arrogance to the cocky climate created by judo training to House guards. How can the Opposition function if members thereof are cowed down like this? He asked. OGP member Arun De, an eye witness to what had happened in the preceding evening, described the police action as unprecedented and uncivilized. Even Raghunath Mohanty, seasoned member of the treasury bench, expressed dismay over ultra-policing. Chief Minister tried to apprise the House of the administrative steps, including suspension, taken against Thripathy and two members of the watch & ward staff, but he was jeered down.

When the House resumed in the afternoon, the Speaker informed the members of constitution of a special committee under his own presidentship to determine remedial measures. Opposition refused to take part in that committee, but participated in proceedings that paved the way for Revenue budget.

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