India

Indian media criticise 'shameful' parliament disruption

The Pioneer front-page Image copyright The Pioneer
The Indian Express front-page Image copyright The Indian Express
The Times of India front-page Image copyright The Times of India
The Hindu front-page Image copyright The Hindu
The New Indian Express front-page Image copyright The New Indian Express
DNA front-page Image copyright DNA
Deccan Chronicle front-page Image copyright Deccan Chronicle

Media are strongly criticising the chaos that erupted in the lower house of India's parliament after an MP used pepper spray to disrupt proceedings.

Papers warn that democratic institutions like the parliament will fall into "anarchy" if such "shameful" incidents continue.

Media are particularly critical of L Rajagopal, an MP of the ruling Congress party, who smashed a glass and used pepper spray on his colleagues to protest against a plan to create the new state of Telangana.

The incident took place when Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde tried to table a bill to create Telangana, which is to be carved out of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Mr Rajagopal later said he had acted in self-defence after being attacked.

But the anger against the "ruckus" is evident in Friday's front-page headlines.

"The Darkest Day" reads the headline in The Pioneer, while The Times of India says "Pepper spray in House leaves Indian democracy in tears".

"MPs make it a day of shame for Parliament," reads The Hindu's headline.

'Dangerous for democracy'

Newspapers feel such disruptions are "dangerous" for democracy and "homicidal" to the spirit of parliament.

"The Telangana issue is no doubt a highly emotional one. But parliament is a forum for debate and discussion, not for unseemly and violent brawls… This is very dangerous for our democracy. Unless the institutions of democracy, the highest being parliament, are nurtured, we could quite possibly see a slide into anarchy," says the Hindustan Times in an editorial.

The Times of India echoes similar sentiments.

"Such disruptions are homicidal to the very spirit of parliament. While elected legislators have every right to voice their opinions and put forward concerns of their constituencies, representative democracy needs to be distinguished from anarchy," it says.

Papers are also calling for stricter action against MPs disrupting proceedings as well as frisking of lawmakers to avoid such incidents in future.

"Speaker Meira Kumar should no more restrict herself to feeble entreaties to maintain decorum but adopt sterner measures, ranging from ordering eviction to allowing criminal prosecution in select instances… Political consensus may be the ideal way, but legislative activity cannot forever be hostage to deliberate disorder," says The Hindu.

The Indian Express suggests it is "perhaps time to reconsider" the immunity given to MPs not to be frisked while entering the premises.

Frisking

Former Delhi police chief Ajay Raj Sharma too suggests the frisking of MPs, terming Thursday's incident as a "big security risk", reports The Times of India.

But some experts say it is the responsibility of the lawmakers to maintain the dignity of the house.

Trinath Mishra, former chief of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force, says the "security of parliament is incumbent on the behaviour of its members".

"We can frisk and remove weapons if allowed. But is it going to help if members are baying for each other's blood," the paper quotes him as saying.

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