Indian Parliament speaker bars 25 lawmakers for 'disorder'
NEW DELHI: The speaker of India's Parliament on Monday barred 25 opposition legislators from its sessions for the rest of the week for causing "grave disorder" after they created noisy scenes.
Parliament has been unable to conduct any business for weeks as the opposition has been demanding that two leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party resign for allegedly helping a former Indian cricket official facing investigation for financial irregularities.
After admonishing the lawmakers for wearing black armbands and carrying placards inside the house, Sumitra Mahajan, speaker of the powerful lower house, suspended the members of the Congress party. They were barred from entering the premises for the rest of the week.
While opposition lawmakers routinely have delayed the working of the Parliament as a form of protest, including staging noisy scenes and walkouts, suspensions are extremely rare.
When it was in the opposition, the BJP used the same tactics to try and embarrass the then-ruling Congress party over a spate of corruption scandals.
Mahajan told reporters that she had "tried my best," to restore order in the Lok Sabha before being forced to expel the opposition members. The opposition however reacted with anger and by late Monday evening at least one other opposition party, the Trinamool Congress party said it would boycott Parliament to protest the expulsion.
Senior Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor a called Mahajan's move "truly shocking," saying that the BJP used the same form of protest when it was in opposition and yet none of its lawmakers were ever evicted.
The current session of Parliament opened on July 21 but has been a washout as the BJP government faced its first major scandal since coming to power last year.