Shillong: The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly witnessed a stormy session with the opposition Congress on Wednesday staging a walk-out and, in a first, also carried out sloganeering in the corridors of the House.

The opposition had demanded a short discussion on the demand for suspension of police officials involved in the killing of former HNLC leader Cherishterfield Thangkhiew on August 13. When their demand was not met, the Congress legislators walked out of the House.

Opposition Chief Whip PT Sawkmie had moved the demand for a short-duration discussion. However, the Assembly Speaker disallowed it after receiving a letter from the government referring to the advice of the Advocate General that the matter is sub judice. The request for a discussion had been admitted to be taken up during the Assembly session.

During the session, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and Opposition Chief Whip and Mawlai MLA PT Sawkmie were at loggerheads speaking simultaneously as they both tried to make their points heard.

Later, Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma questioned the intention of the state government for trying to protect the top police officials who are responsible for the alleged “fake encounter” of the former HNLC leader.

The Congress legislators walked around the corridors and started sloganeering – “We demand justice”, “Down down MDA govt”, and other slogans were heard in the assembly corridors.

Speaking with mediapersons, Dr Sangma said it was necessary for the state government to reconsider whatever decision they have taken. Alleging that the CM and the home minister have been adamant in not suspending the top cops, he said the short discussion, which was tabled by the party MLA from Mawlai, was based on what was needed to be done “to ensure complete free and fair inquiry”.

Walkout not new: Chief Minister

Following the walk-out staged by Meghalaya Opposition Congress, Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh said he had to disallow the discussion on the matter since it will be difficult for him to decide during the course of the deliberations which matter is sub judice and which is not.

“The opinion of the Advocate General was that Rule 59 prohibits allowing a short duration discussion on the matter as the matter is su bjudice,”  Lyngdoh said.

Meanwhile, CM Sangma said that in a democracy, the Opposition always stages walkouts and this was not new. He said the Opposition has full rights to raise their objection and it is very much a democratic way to indicate their dissatisfaction over the decision which has been made.

“However, the situation needs to be clarified. The Speaker had disallowed the discussion based on Rule 59 of the Rule and Procedure of Conduct of Business in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly,” mentioned Sangma.

He added that blaming the government did not make sense since they had nothing to do with deciding to allow or not allow a discussion. The chief minister said that the decision lies with the Speaker.

“Blaming the government is wrong since we don’t run the Assembly. But the Speaker has given his ruling based on a specific rule,” he said.

Asked about the Speaker’s decision to allow questions to be raised on the IED blast,
Sangma said that the Speaker had allowed since he had felt it will not go to the inquiry part. “But at one point, when the Speaker felt that the question was going towards the inquiry part, then he stopped it,” Sangma said.

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