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Opposition Cong stages walk-out in Meghalaya Assembly

After the Chief Minister replied to a Call Attention motion, Congress Chief Whip Process T Sawkmie rose and asked Speaker Lyngdoh on the fate of his short duration discussion which was not mentioned in Wednesday's list of Private Members’

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Shillong: The opposition Congress in Meghalaya on Wednesday staged a walk-out from the State Assembly after Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh disallowed a short-duration discussion on the demand for suspension of police officials involved in the killing of a former militant leader.

After the Chief Minister replied to a Call Attention motion, Congress Chief Whip Process T Sawkmie rose and asked Speaker Lyngdoh on the fate of his short duration discussion which was not mentioned in Wednesday’s list of Private Members’

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Sawkmie pleaded with the Speaker that time should be given for discussing the issue raised by him about the suspension of police officers involved in the killing of former Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) militant leader Cherishterfield Thangkhiew at Mawlai Kynton Massar on August 13.

The Speaker had admitted and fixed the short duration discussion but disallowed the short-duration discussion of Sawkmie after he received a letter from the State government referring to the opinion of the Advocate General that the matter is sub-judice.

The Congress legislators staged a walk-out after the Speaker refused to reconsider his ruling despite their plea that they would confine their discussion only on the demand for suspension of police officials involved in the killing of the former militant leader.

Upset with the Speaker’s sticking to his decision, the

legislators also shouted anti-government slogans “MDA government down down” and “Conrad Sangma hai hai” as they were heading out the Assembly building.

Before staging the walkout, the Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma informed the House that the demand for suspension of the concerned police officers is not at all which can be considered as a matter of sub-judice.

“From the stand of the government, it proves beyond reasonable doubt that they are hell-bent on sticking to the decision that they have taken and they want to completely stonewall any possibility of discussion so that we can reach a logical conclusion,” the veteran Congress legislator said.

“It would have been rather an opportunity for the government to review their stand and take a conscious decision considered best for the interest of the people and the state,” Mukul said, adding that “discussion on this subject will be meaningless because they (government) will not be willing to even listen in other words it will fall on deaf ears.”

“But most important is that the intent of the government is very clear for us we will not in futility engaged in discussion and debate, and we walk-out to demonstrate our disapproval and complete sense of lack of confidence on the intent of the government,” the Leader of Opposition said before leading his party legislators to walk-out of the House.

Urging the Speaker to reconsider his ruling, senior Congress legislator and former Assembly Speaker Charles Pyngrope, said that the demand for the suspension of the police officials shouldn’t be linked to the judicial inquiry. “This discussion is separate from the matter which is sub-judice,” Pyngrope said.

Supporting their leader, other opposition members of the Congress like Himalaya Muktan Shangpliang George B Lyngdoh also pleaded that the matter should be allowed for discussion.

Defending the Speaker’s decision, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said, “It is not a fact that we don’t want to discuss it. There are certain constraints which even the House have to honour and see. The judicial inquiry is there and all the facts and realities will come out in the judicial inquiry. We should give a chance for the judicial inquiry to be completed.”

Moreover, he also informed the members of the House that Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui had given an exhaustive reply on Tuesday.

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