The Chandigarh Police Tuesday booked nine Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) legislators from Punjab for allegedly attempting to gherao and confront Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in the Vidhan Sabha Secretariat here last week. The Akali Dal later termed the registration of case as an “unfortunate and undemocratic step”.
Punjab and Haryana share a common building in the Capitol Complex of Chandigarh and the building houses their respective Vidhan Sabhas. Both the Houses were in session when the incident took place on March 10. The Akali Dal legislators had confronted Khattar outside the Assembly hall demanding that a resolution be passed in the Haryana Vidhan Sabha against the Centre’s three new farm laws.
Chandigarh Police registered the FIR based on a complaint filed by the Haryana Vidhan Sabha Secretariat.
Those booked include Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Bikram Singh Majithia, Baldev Singh Khaira, Sukhwinder Kumar, Harinder Pal Singh Chandumajra, Kanwarjit Singh Barkandi, Manpreet Singh Ayali, Gurpartap Singh Wadala and N K Sharma. They have been booked under relevant IPC sections including 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), according to a copy of the FIR.
A part of the FIR states that on March 10, after the day’s session of Haryana Vidhan Sabha got over, Khattar was briefing the press in the Assembly premises. The FIR said that at 5.50 pm, “nine Akali Dal MLAs from Punjab, accompanied by six-seven persons along with black stripes” protested in front of Khattar and “tried to attack the Hon’ble Chief Minister and misbehave and interrupt the press briefing”, which was prevented by security staff of Haryana Vidhan Sabha and Haryana Police.
Terming the FIR as “very unfortunate” and an “undemocratic step”, SAD spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said, “It was a crystal clear example of the lack of tolerance and increasing myopic approach in politics. You see the video…[Akali] MLAs protested against [Haryana] CM outside Vidhan Sabha. They protested against atrocities on farmers. We hoped Khattar will call the MLAs to listen to them and clarify things. But, a wrong tradition has been set. The MLAs have been conferred with the right to protest by the Constitution. The FIR should be cancelled”.
Majithia, a former minister, lashed out at both the BJP-JJP government in Haryana and the Congress government in Punjab. “We held a peaceful demonstration in Punjab Vidhan Sabha. It is sorry to say how [Punjab] Congress is playing a fixed match as if they have surrendered Punjab Vidhan Sabha campus to Haryana. Let the people of Punjab know how the present Congress government has become subservient to the BJP,” the Akali MLA said.
He said the Vidhan Sabha parking where Akali MLAs protested belongs to Punjab too. “There is no demarcation between Punjab and Haryana. There is only one entry gate and one exit gate. We did not trespass. We have been accused that we were in Haryana side (while protesting),” Majithia said.
“The Constitution allows each and every individual to protest peacefully. We protested for farmers’ cause. There is loud support and protest against government’s black laws across the world. The [Haryana] CM cannot go to his own constituency, because people are unhappy with the present laws and he is facing backlash and protests,” Majithia told Indian Express over phone.
The senior Akali leader said that in Punjab Vidhan Sabha, he had moved a resolution on how the “farmers were treated when they entered Haryana, how tear gas shells were fired on them and water cannons used against them, their turbans flung off”. “I moved the resolution condemning the actions of Haryana government whether it was Nodeep Kaur case or Shiv Kumar case… and mistreatment of protestors in Delhi jail. It is shameful that they have become so arrogant that they have booked us. We did not touch Mr Khattar. The complaint says we attacked. We are elected representatives. Attack and misbehavior is out of question,” said Majithia.
Earlier, Haryana Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta had raised a strong objection to the incident and had written a letter to his Punjab counterpart Rana KP Singh. Gupta had also called a meeting with state home secretary Rajeev Arora and police chief Manoj Yadava where it was decided Thereafter, the Haryana assembly secretariat asking them not to let any such incidents happen in future. It was decided in the meeting that had Vidhan Sabha secretariat will get an FIR lodged against the Punjab MLAs.
“This kind of behaviour shown by Punjab MLAs was indecent and should be highly criticised as it is against ethics and principles of Parliament. Since it is a common complex of both the Assemblies, the kind of unparliamentary behaviour shown by the Punjab MLAs against Chief Minister Manohar Lal will certainly lead to a wrong practice as such incidents will spoil the brotherhood and harmony among the leaders of both the Vidhan Sabhas,” Gupta had said.
Gupta on Monday had informed the House about the complaint lodged with Chandigarh Police.