'Is ex-minister above law?'

Opposition creates ruckus in House seeking his arrest

The Budget Session of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly started on a stormy note Monday with opposition People’s Democratic Party, Bharatiya Janta Party, National Panthers Party and independent legislators disrupting Governor N N Vohra’s speech.

As soon the Governor started his address, the opposition members stood up from their chairs and raised the issues of the alleged sexual assault by an ex-minister, setting up of new administrative units in the state and closure of the Pahtribal fake encounter case by an army court.

The opposition members unanimously said the state government was trying to protect the accused, former health minister Shabir Ahmad Khan, as police had been unable to arrest him even four days after registration of an FIR against him.

They demanded the immediate arrest of tainted Congress legislator Khan and said the government in a planned way is giving the accused politician a free hand. The members also raised the issue about new administrative units and demanded immediate resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, who headed the Cabinet Sub Committee. 

Despite repeated requests from Speaker Mubarak Gul, the members continued to disrupt the speech of the Governor. “Is the ex-minister above law?” a legislator said. “Why isn’t he being arrested? Where is the state’s intelligence grid that it is boasting about?” the opposition said, adding that it is an irony that a Congress politician has succeeded in playing hide and seek with the government for the past three days while police are putting no efforts to trace culprit.

The members also demanded that the Pathribal fake encounter case be re-opened and a thorough investigation be made to nail the culprits.Amid complete pandemonium and chaos, the Governor cut short his speech by half-an-hour. The Speaker and the chairman of the legislative council later laid copies of the Governor’s address on the table of the two Houses.

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