The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Tuesday witnessed uproarious scenes after Speaker Kavinder Gupta announced that he would expunge Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s “anti-national remarks, if any” made in the House. The CM had on Monday accused those calling for withdrawal of Article 370 and Article 35-A of “hurting the very soul and secular character of Kashmir”. She also said that “there is nothing more anti-national than this”.
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BJP legislator Rajeev Jasrotia raised the issue on Tuesday while demanding expunction of Mufti’s remarks. “How can I be called anti-national for my viewpoint,” asked Jasrotia. “I stand by what my elders have been fighting for and Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee laid down his life for. If he is called anti-national for having a viewpoint on Article 370, then there should be a verdict on those who talk of autonomy or self-rule.” He requested the Speaker to expunge Mufti’s “anti-national” remark.
Jasrotia’s remarks prompted Opposition NC and Congress lawmakers to seek clarification from the chief minister. The angry legislators tried to storm the well of the House, forcing Gupta to adjourn the proceedings. The Speaker clarified that he had not expunged the remarks when the House re-assembled. “PDP and BJP may be having their own agendas, but as Speaker I say that yesterday’s proceedings of the House have not placed before me by the Assembly secretariat,” he said. “Let me examine the proceedings and if there is any anti-national word used, then it will be expunged.”
Sources in the PDP-BJP ruling coalition tried to brush aside the events in the Assembly as “nothing abnormal”. But sources said the cabinet meeting on Tuesday was cancelled. Official sources insisted the meeting was postponed.
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