Pepper spray, chaos in Lok Sabha over Telangana

NEW DELHI Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:02pm IST

1 of 4. Sumitra Mahajan, a parliamentarian and a leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), drinks water after she rushed out of the parliament in New Delhi February 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Lok Sabha erupted in mayhem on Thursday when a lawmaker fired pepper spray in parliament in protest against a bill on a new Telangana state. Television footage showed pictures of lawmakers coughing, sneezing and holding scarves to their faces. Shouting protesters also broke a glass table and snapped the wire of an official's microphone.

A few lawmakers were rushed away in an ambulance while others were given first aid treatment in parliament.

"The incidents which took place in the house are a big blot on our democracy," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters.

"Parliamentary democracy provides for dissent but does not provide for the kind of disruption and attempted violence which we saw today. I feel ashamed that such an incident has taken place."

The furor erupted after Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde rose to table a bill for the creation of Telangana to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh.

Lagadapati Rajagopal, a member of parliament from Andhra Pradesh who was recently suspended by the ruling Congress party and who opposes creation of the new state, then unleashed the pepper spray.

Congress has tried to pass laws in the parliament's last session before a general election due by May, but the house has frequently been adjourned amid rowdy scenes over the creation of Telangana state.

Thursday's antics were the worst and drew criticism from parliamentarians from various parties.

"It is an unprecedented and a disgraceful situation," said Jaswant Singh of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

The bill was tabled but the session broke up soon after. The speaker suspended 17 members of parliament.

(Reporting By Sruthi Gottipati and Nigam Prusty; Editng by Angus MacSwan and Robert Birsel)

FILED UNDER:

Fast-tracking Projects

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Brent edges further above $61 as companies cut upstream investments.  Full Article 

GST Bill

GST Bill

Cabinet clears bill for nationwide goods and services tax.  Full Article 

Aviation Sector

Aviation Sector

Breakingviews: SpiceJet rescue is no fix for India aviation woes.  Full Article 

Global Economy

Global Economy

Fed confident on U.S. growth, opens door wider to rate hike.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

BSE Sensex to hit 32,980 by December 2015  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

Japan banks to bulk up India presence on improving ties   Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage