J&K Assembly decides to summon V.K. Singh for ‘breach of privilege’

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Srinagar, October 9:  Speaker Mubarak Gul on Wednesday decided to summon General V.K. Singh, over a breach of privilege notice filed by 16 Jammu and Kashmir legislators — mostly incumbent and former Ministers — of the ruling National Conference. Both Houses have initiated proceedings against the retired Army Chief for his purported statement that many J&K Ministers had been receiving the secret Central funds since 1947.

The Speaker was forced to take this decision after the Opposition Peoples Democratic Party disrupted Assembly proceedings when Mr. Gul said he would seek a written clarification from Gen. Singh. The NC’s Mir Saifullah (Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs) and Ali Mohammad Sagar (Rural Development) insisted on Gen. Singh’s personal appearance and oral clarification before the House.

The Speaker asserted that the General could be summoned only if his written clarification was not convincing. “I’ll get him here, even if I have to call a special session for that purpose. But, let me first seek a written response from him.” This led to pandemonium.

Members from the ruling Congress and Opposition BJP did not take a stand and were watching the rumpus mutely.

In another development, members of the PDP and the NC and independent MLA Engineer Rashid clashed, each taunting the other with being “hypocrite” and “soft” on the former Army Chief.

The commotion refused to die down even as the Speaker adjourned the House twice, requesting PDP members to restore calm.

But the PDP MLAs shouted slogans, rushed to the well and demanded voting to determine whether a majority of the members were in favour of the Speaker’s decision of writing a letter to Gen. Singh or their demand for calling him straight to the House.

Mr. Gul finally endorsed the members’ demand and declared that Gen. Singh would be summoned “as soon as possible.”
Council passes resolution

In the Legislative Council, members concluded their two-day discussions on Gen. Singh’s statement, unanimously adopting a one-line resolution which urged the Centre to order a time-bound inquiry. The resolution was identical to the one already passed by the Assembly.

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