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SAD protests 'less time' allotted to speak on Commission report; holds mock session outside Assembly

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

The Punjab Assembly was adjourned briefly today when the opposition Akali Dal protested over the "less time" allotted to them during a debate on the Justice Ranjit Singh Commission report on desecration of religious texts.

When the House reconvened, Shiromani Akali Dal leaders and members from their ally BJP stayed away from the proceedings, and held a mock session outside the Assembly as a mark of protest.

The House was adjourned for 15 minutes as the SAD protested the inadequate 14 minutes allotted to them to speak on the report.

When the Speaker announced the allocation of time to the parties, the SAD had raised objection.

Akali leader and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said the allocation of 14 minutes to his party was inadequate.

The Speaker said the time was allocated according to the party's strength in the House. However, SAD legislators rushed to the well, demanding they be given more time to speak on the report.

They raised slogans, created ruckus and did not relent even after the Speaker assured them that sufficient time would be given to everyone to participate in the discussion.

The report of the one-man commission was tabled in the state assembly yesterday.

The SAD rejected the report as a "waste paper" even before it was tabled and accused the commission of acting as a "Congress Sarkari Commission".

Talking to reporters later, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal dared the Amarinder Singh government to identify one case in which the report indicted the previous SAD-BJP dispensation.

"All that the report has succeeded in making are indirect insinuations, assumptions and guesses. This is the most hazy, vague report," Badal alleged.

Badal claimed the report had in fact "commended" the government machinery for their efforts to unearth the truth in sacrilege cases.

Protesting the "less time" allotted to the SAD and the BJP, Badal said it "was a broad daylight murder of democracy".

He said the SAD-BJP did not boycott the session "but we were gagged by the order..." and "we were forced to hold a parallel session as we were denied the right to free speech inside the House."

The commission was formed by the Congress government in April 2017 to investigate incidents of sacrilege of religious texts, including in village Burj Jawahar Singh Wala, Bargari and firing incidents at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan between 2015 and 2017.

The government has announced to handover probe into Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing to the CBI.

In the House today, Akali leader Parminder Singh Dhindsa called the report false and demanded more time to discuss it.

As the pandemonium continued, the Speaker adjourned the House.

The Speaker has allotted 80 minutes to the ruling Congress, 21 minutes to main opposition AAP, 14 minutes to SAD, three minutes to BJP and two minutes to Lok Insaaf Party.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, August 28 2018. 22:40 IST