Sunday, May 22, 2022

Bihar Police Bill Row: Tejashwi Yadav, Tej Pratap Taken Into Custody; Women MLAs Forcibly Evicted

Water cannons were used to disperse the protesters.

Bihar Police Bill Row: Tejashwi Yadav, Tej Pratap Taken Into Custody; Women MLAs Forcibly Evicted

A high drama unfolded in Bihar Assembly on Tuesday over the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill 2021. Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha was not allowed to step out of his chamber by women MLAs of the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), following which women police personnel present at the spot forcibly evicted them from the spot.

What is the police bill?

The Bill, which seeks to increase the powers of the police, was introduced by the Nitish Kumar government after it reportedly deemed necessary in view of the increasingly complex security needs of the state which has been witnessing rapid economic growth.

Terming the Bill as a ‘Black’ legislation, Opposition MLAs alleged that they were manhandled by the security personnel present in the Assembly. "The SP has hit me on my chest. This is the murder of democracy," MLA Satyendra Kumar said.

The Bill was, nonetheless, passed by the Assembly late in the evening, well past the stipulated time, amid a "walkout" by Opposition MLAs who squatted outside the building and raised slogans, slighted by the manner in which they were ousted from the hall by the men in uniform.

The police arrested Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav and his elder brother Tej Pratap following heavy stone-pelting by party workers. Water cannons were used to disperse the protesters.

They were held at Patna's Dak Bungalow Chowk. Thousands of RJD supporters damaged private and government property.— ANI (@ANI) March 23, 2021

"We wanted to speak but we were thrashed. This law means that search will be conducted without a warrant and 'any policemen can arrest if he believes something is wrong'. No use of courts and magistrate," Tejashwi said after the uproar in Assembly.

The RJD had announced the siege of the Assembly in protests protest against issues of rising unemployment, corruption and inflation.

A large number of RJD workers gathered near Gandhi Maidan and marched towards the Assembly.

RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwari claimed it was some anti-social elements who posed as RJD supporters and indulged in violence.

"We want a thorough inquiry into the matter and demand CCTV and video footage of violence to identify the accused. RJD supporters have no role in it," Tiwari added.

Earlier on March 19, the opposition had alleged that with this bill the government aspired of turning Bihar into a ‘police state’. 

The row between the government and the opposition on the provisions of the said bill led to chaos inside the legislature leading to adjournment of the day’s proceedings. 

Opposition legislators earlier requested the speaker of Bihar Legislative Assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha, to refer the bill to a select committee failing which they tore to pieces copies of the draft protesting the provisions mentioned in it. The bill was described as ‘draconian’.