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Lowdown on What Happened in Bihar



Unprecedented chaos erupted inside the Bihar assembly on Tuesday following which police officials were called inside to assist the marshals in evicting opposition members who tried to physically prevent the Speaker from taking his Chair.

Amid the chaos, opposition MLAs were dragged, manhandled by policemen in the assembly, and were carried out on stretchers over a Bill that was tabled in the assembly. Reacting to the situation, Congress on Wednesday alleged that democracy has been murdered in Bihar after opposition legislators were roughed up by the police.

What led to this chaos?

The bone of contention was the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021, which the Nitish Kumar government has introduced in a bid to give its police more teeth, deemed necessary in view of the increasingly complex security needs of the state. However, the opposition termed it as “black” legislation, taking strong exception to provisions that empower the Special Armed Police, previously known as the Bihar Military Police, to conduct searches and arrests without producing a warrant.

Nonetheless, the bill was passed by the assembly late in the evening, well past the stipulated time, amid a “walkout” by opposition MLAs. These MLAs raised slogans, slighted by the manner in which they were ousted from the hall by the force.

What Happened in the Assembly?

Things had come to the pass after the Speaker was thwarted from taking his seat by a handful of women legislators of the RJD who had clambered on to the podium even as many other MLAs created ruckus in the well. They threw away the chair of the Vidhan Sabha secretary and prevented staff from bringing in another piece of furniture.

Meanwhile, tempers flared up in the treasury benches. Cabinet minister Ashok Choudhary was seen getting physical with an RJD MLA who tried to snatch away the papers from BJPs Prem Kumar, who occupied the chair while Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha took his time to recover from the turn of events during the day. Around 3 pm Sinha had adjourned proceedings till 4.30 pm. He was held hostage inside his chamber by opposition legislators who surrounded it from all sides preventing his exit.

What is the Opposition’s role in the chaos?

RJD workers- led by Tejashwi Yadav took out a procession earlier in the day in protest against the bill and rising unemployment, which resulted in injuries to many protesters and police officials as stones were hurled and lathi charge use of water cannons was ordered.

The Dak Bungalow crossing, where the protestors clashed with the police upon being prevented from marching to the assembly, witnessed lawlessness as vehicles parked by the roadside were vandalized. The officials were summoned to the Vidhan Sabha premises in the afternoon to rope in police personnel for helping the marshals who were far outnumbered by the legislators laying siege to the Speaker’s chamber.

Later after creating a ruckus in the assembly, the Patna police chief brought over 100 personnel and started removing the protesting MLAs from the house. Women lawmakers who climbed the podium and tried to stop the Speaker from sitting were removed by policewomen. A few MLAs of the RJD and its ally CPI(M) were seen on the ground outside the assembly after being carried out by security personnel, apparently ‘unconscious’, as allegedly they were “severely beaten up”.

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