Opposition disrupts proceedings in Kerala House over CM's 'extremist' remark

Opposition disrupts proceedings in Kerala House over CM's 'extremist' remark

Pinarayi Vijayan.

The Kerala Assembly today witnessed noisy scenes with the Congress-led opposition UDF protesting the remarks of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that a section of it was encouraging extremist elements.

The opposition sought to raise the issue as an adjournment motion during zero hour, which Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan disallowed saying that a debate could not be allowed on a remark made by a member of the House.

Vijayan yesterday, while replying to an adjournment motion notice related to an incident of alleged police torture of a man at Aluva in Kochi, had stated the protest against police that followed the incident had "an extremist character."

Justifying his decision not to allow a debate, the Speaker said Congress parliamentary secretary K C Joseph, MLA, has written a letter to the Chair seeking to expunge the remarks terming it as 'undignified' and 'defamatory'.

'The chair is examining the letter of Joseph, the speaker added.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala insisted on a discussion, saying the chief minister's remarks were very serious.

He alleged that Vijayan had insulted the entire opposition and also the people of Aluva.

As UDF members continued anti-government sloganeering near the well of the house, the Speaker accepted the chief minister's request to speak on the issue.

When Vijayan rose to speak, opposition members disrupted his speech and the House plunged into turmoil with ruling bench legislators also joining the issue.

UDF members had come to the house wearing a badge asking the chief minister whether they were extremist.

As the commotion continued, Chennithala announced that they were boycotting proceedings and trooped out of the house.

Making a statement in the House in the absence of the Opposition, Vijayan said he had reminded about the danger of extremism and need for a vigil against militancy.

He said his stand on the issue was very clear and stressed that it was a fact that there was an intervention of extremist forces behind the protest against police in Aluva.

Encouraging such elements would be a danger to the nation, he added.

In this context, Vijayan also said one of those who created trouble in Aluva was not only an extremist but also had links with 'terrorists'.

Vijayan, a senior CPI(M) politburo member, also reminded the Congress about the consequences the nation had to face for encouraging Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in Punjab.

Later talking to reporters, Chennithala said the chief minister was making charges against the opposition to cover up police lapses and atrocities.

"We don't want any certificate from Vijayan for our fight against terrorists," Chennithala said.

Congress leaders like Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh are martyrs who lost lives in their fight against terrorism, he added.

Seeking to turn the tables on the ruling LDF, IUML leader and former state Minister M K Muneer alleged it was the CPI(M) that had always 'sided' with organisations that had 'extremist character.'