Punjab MLAs rip turbans, exchange blows in House


Making a mockery of parliamentary decorum, the unruly legislators from both parties heckled each other, stood on tables and shouted slogans in an unprecedented pandemonium witnessed in the state assembly.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Badal were surrounded by the Akali legislators who made a human shield around them after some angry Congress legislators rushed towards them in a menacing manner. Earlier, they had tried to rush to the Speaker’s chair but were prevented from doing so by the House marshals.

Congress members were instigated after Sukhbir made a statement on the floor of the House about violent incidents in Ludhiana two days ago in which one person died in police firing after a clash between two religious groups. They alleged that there was total law and order failure in the state.

Some Akali legislators allegedly took off the turban of Congress legislator and senior vice president of Punjab Congress, Kewal Singh Dhillon, and hurled it in the air. Following this, a free-for-all ensued as the Akali and Congress leaders exchanged blows and ripped off turbans from each other’s head.

The Speaker adjourned the House for an hour but the Congress members continued shouting slogans even after the House reassembled. Chief Minister P S Badal later described the developments in the assembly as “most painful and disgrace to democracy in the country.”

Two Punjab ministers and a parliamentary secretary have asked the Speaker to take sternest possible action against Congress legislators including their leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

On the other hand, Dhillon said the Congress legislators would call on the Punjab Governor on Wednesday to demand an apology from the chief minister for the removal of turban by Akali legislators from his head. He said the removal of turban was an insult not only to him but to the entire Sikh community.

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