As many as 28 MLAs of Congress were briefly suspended today after the opposition party created a ruckus in the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly while demanding a probe into the "suspicious" death of a farmer. The issue of the death of Jailal Rathiya, a tribal farmer from Raigarh district, was raised after the Question Hour by the Congress MLA Bhupesh Baghel. He said Rathiya, a petitioner in court in a "land scam" case, involving land to the tune of 300 acres in Kunkuni village,died in a suspicious condition on March 16. Baghel sought a discussion on the issue through an adjournment motion notice. Congress MLA Umesh Patel, who represents Kharsiya seat in Raigarh district, also demanded a discussion on the motion notice, saying Rathiya had petitioned the High Court in connection with the "land scam". "In the same (land scam) issue, district Collector had taken action against local Patwari (revenue official) and Panchayat Secretary after an investigation into it, but no further action was taken," he said. Congress MLAs Satyanarayan Sharma, Laljit Singh Rathiya and Kawasi Lakhma supported Baghel and Patel. Baghel alleged that the farmer was under pressure by the "land mafias" (to withdraw the case). "If it was a normal death, why police recorded statements of his (Rathiya's) family members, and if the death is suspicious why no postmortem was conducted?" he asked. Baghel demanded a probe by the CBI into the matter. Speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal said the motion stands rejected. However, the Congress Legislators urged the Speaker to rethink over his decision, but Agrawal turned down their demand and continued with the proceedings. The Congress Legislators then started shouting slogans in support of probe and accused the government of protecting land mafias. Around 28 MLAs of Congress then trooped into the well of the House, following which the Speaker ordered their suspension, which was revoked later. The Congress has 39 MLAs in the 90-member House.
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