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Congress MLA suspended, marshalled out of Assam Assembly

By PTI Updated: Dec 04, 2019 11:35 pm

Guwahati, Dec. 4 (PTI): Congress MLA Sherman Ali was on Wednesday suspended from the Assam Assembly and marshalled out of the House following his argument with Speaker Hitesh Goswami over his demand to discuss the new Land Policy of the state government.

During the Zero Hour, Ali termed the Land Policy, 2019 “unconstitutional” and sought a discussion on it.

When the speaker refused to allow the discussion, the Congress legislator went to the well of the House to press for his demand.

Even as Goswami asked Ali to return to his seat, the Congress MLA continued arguing with the speaker leading to a noisy scene in the House as opposition and BJP legislators started trading charges. The speaker then suspended Ali from the House for the day but when he refused to leave, Goswami ordered marshalls to move the Congress MLA out.

After being led out of the House, Ali lay down on the floor of the entrance lobby of the Assembly holding placards against the Land Policy, 2019.

As per the new Land Policy, landless indigenous people would be given about an acre of agricultural land and 0.16 acre for constructing a house, which cannot be sold for 15 years.

The Government of Assam had last adopted a Land Policy 30 years ago in 1989, the others being in 1958, 1968 and 1972.

The state government says the Land Policy, 2019 will safeguard the interests of the indigenous people and remove complications regarding land allotments and settlements.

Taking exception to it, Ali told PTI outside the House, “The Land Policy is unconstitutional as there is no clear definition of ‘indigenous people’ in the policy.

“Moreover, the Indian constitution accords equal rights to all citizens. Nobody can be discriminated against based on being indigenous or Indian.”

On being marshalled out, Ali said, “The speaker has diminished the democratic values by not allowing people’s representatives to discuss important matters in the House.”.

Cong. MLA apologises after slitting palm in Assam Assembly premises
Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi, who slit his palm at the Assam Assembly premises to protest against the state government, tendered a written apology on Wednesday.

The legislator of Mariani constituency in Jorhat district on Tuesday cut his palm with a blade and wrote his protests in blood against the state government’s alleged move to sell some of its defunct enterprises. Reading out his apology in the House on Wednesday, Kurmi said the method of his protest was not the right way to register his disagreement with the state government.

He, however, maintained that it was important to protest the state government’s alleged move to sell off Nagaon and Cachar Paper Mills, Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation Ltd, Halmari Tea Estate in Dibrugarh and Ailabari Tea Estate in Karimganj.

Speaker Hitesh Goswami said Kurmi had given the apology letter on Tuesday during a meeting on the issue with the leader of opposition in the House, Debabrata Saikia and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan at his chamber in the Assembly premises.

Kurmi had to be administered three stitches on his palm due to his act.

He had told reporters that the Assam government will not be allowed to “sell the state’s future”.

“All these assets on Assam’ soil are linked to the state’s honour, people’s means of livelihood and the state’s future… They cannot be allowed to be sold,” he said.

The Congress and the BJP MLAs had traded charges when the issue was raised in the House.

Saikia said he was not a part of Kurmi’s protest and was not responsible for what the Congress MLAs do outside the House. Kurmi, who is often termed ‘quirky’ and ‘maverick’ for his protest styles, had in an earlier instance protested the rise in the price of onions by wearing a garland made of the vegetable and lying at the entrance of the House.

On the first day of the Assembly’s Winter session on November 28, Kurmi had staged a sit-in with placards against the shutdown of two tea estates.

Later, he had participated in opposition protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and the National Register of Citizens wearing a garland of onions.

By PTI Updated: Dec 04, 2019 11:35:26 pm