New Delhi, Mar 24 (PTI) Several opposition parties on Wednesday condemned the alleged roughing up of MLAs in Bihar and alleged that democracy was being murdered and the state was being pushed into 'police raj'.
The RJD and the Congress also sought to raise the matter in the Rajya Sabha, but Rashtriya Janata Dal staged a walkout after its members were disallowed to raise the matter by the chair.
Parties like the Congress, RJD, DMK, Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, TRS and AAP said that instead of hearing out the grievances of opposition legislators, the government forcibly evicted them from the assembly, which was like murdering democracy.
'In doing this, the BJP and JD(U) have not only sought to throttle the voices of peoples' representatives, but also assaulted constitutional principles. We unequivocally condemn this unprecedented attack on India's democracy, and urge every Indian to stand by democratic principles,' they said in the joint statement.
The opposition leaders also claimed that the BJP-JD(U) combine in Bihar has pushed through the draconian Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021 that confers unbridled powers upon Bihar Police, alleging that this was 'unconstitutional'.
'It is an insidious conspiracy to enforce 'police raj' in Bihar and portends what the BJP intends to do throughout India employing the sheer tyranny of power,' they said, adding that the bill violates the rule of law and undermines human rights.
The Congress alleged that democracy was murdered in Bihar after MLAs were allegedly roughed up by the police inside the state assembly.
The Bihar Assembly witnessed unprecedented turmoil on Tuesday and the police was called in to physically evict legislators who had laid siege to the speakers' chamber after they were opposing the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill, 2021.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said those stripping democracy have no right to call themselves a government. He said the opposition will continue to raise issues in public interest and it does not fear anything.
'It is clear from the shameful events in the Bihar Assembly that the chief minister is firmly under the influence of the BJP and the RSS. Those stripping democracy have no right to call themselves a government,' Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi.
'The opposition will continue to raise issues in public interest. We are not afraid,' he also said.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, along with several opposition leaders like Ram Gopal Yadav, P Wilson, Vandana Chavan, Manoj Jha and Sanjay Singh said they condemned the police action in Bihar which was 'unfortunate'.
'The incidents that have taken place in Bihar assembly are painful and unfortunate and all of us condemn this. I have never seen such an incident in my 49 years in political life, where the police rough up MLAs, including women, inside the state assembly,' Kharge said.
'This will kill democracy, which is being disregarded by the BJP. The BJP-JD(U) government in Bihar has thrown the Constitution to the winds. What will happen to the common man when the police get unbridled powers, after what they did to the MLAs where the law was passed,' he said.
Kharge feared that the law would be misused the same way the Centre is misusing probe agencies against the opposition.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala urged people to raise their voice against the alleged police high handedness in Bihar where RJD and Congress MLAs were allegedly assaulted and manhandled.
He said they were raising their voice against the passage of the Bihar Special Armed Police Bill in the state assembly that will empower the police to put anyone behind bars.
'Democracy has been murdered in Bihar, and if the people of the country will not raise their voice now, there will be no democracy left in the country,' he told reporters.
Surjewala charged that hooliganism has become the order of the day by the JD(U) and BJP in Bihar.
'If this goes on for long, the state legislature will be destroyed as Parliamentary traditions are already compromised. How will this country run,' he asked.
The Congress leader alleged that if the rights of elected representatives in a democracy and the voice of people is crushed like this, then the country and its Constitution will not survive.
'I appeal to all citizens to raise their voice against this atrocity, dictatorship and against such hooliganism being spread across the country by the BJP and their friends. If you do not raise your voice now, you will also be held complicit in this travesty. All citizens should unite to raise their voice,' Surjewala said.
Another Congress leader Bhakt Charan Das, who is in-charge of Congress in Bihar, said such acts will not be tolerated and demanded that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar apologise, else the protests inside and outside the state assembly would continue. PTI SKC AAR AAR