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Legislators beat cop who 'misbehaved' with MLA; House stalled

Mumbai: Proceedings of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Tuesday were stalled following the shocking incident where a group of MLAs beat up a policeman for "misbehaving" with fellow legislator Kshitij Thakur.

The House witnessed five adjournments as angry members across all parties demanded the policeman's suspension and said that without action against him, the House cannot function.

Mantralaya. AFP

Mantralaya. AFP

The vehicle of Thakur was allegedly stopped on Monday by Assistant Police Inspector (API) Sachin Suryavanshi, attached to the Worli police station, on the Bandra-Worli sealink when the MLA was on his way to attend the Legislative Assembly session.

Thakur was reportedly fined because his vehicle had exceeded the speed limit. There was an altercation between the legislator and the policeman during which the latter allegedly misbehaved with Thakur.

This morning, Thakur, who represents the Vasai Assembly constituency moved a breach of privilege notice against Suryavanshi and gave a detailed account of the policeman's "misbehaviour."

Angered by Thakur's information, members cutting across party lines demanded the policeman's suspension. Suryavanshi was seated in the visitor's gallery at that time.

The House was adjourned for 20 minutes due the uproar as legislators came into the well demanding action against the policeman.

Some of the MLAs saw Suryavanshi in the visitors' gallery making hand gestures looking down at the Assembly members.

Thakur identified the policeman and Ram Kadam (MNS), Rajan Salvi (Shiv Sena), Pradeep Jaiswal (Independent), Kshitij Thakur (Independent), among others, rushed outside the House to catch hold of him and beat him up on the first floor of the Vidhan Bhavan building.

Jaykumar Rawal (BJP) was also seen in the melee.

Later, there were two adjournments of 30 minutes each, upto 3 PM and finally till 5 PM.

Despite Speaker Dilip Walse Patil's attempts to disallow any discussion on the matter, the members maintained that the proceedings cannot go ahead without action against the policeman.

"Since the budget session began, there have been five breach of privilege notices against policemen by the legislators. High-handedness of policemen against the elected representatives cannot be tolerated," Congress MLA Virendra Jagtap said.

Walse Patil said he would conduct an inquiry into the "misbehaviour" of the policeman with Kshitij Thakur yesterday and also the incident which occurred outside the House earlier in the day.

"After a detailed probe, I will take an appropriate decision," the Speaker said.

Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh and other top police officials came to Vidhan Bhavan to meet the Chief Minister and discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, group leaders in the House were critical of legislators' actions. "We had demanded the policeman's suspension and the action would have been taken. But, legislators taking law into their hands is not appropriate. We condemn this. MNS chief Raj Thackeray is extremely angry with party legislator Ram Kadam and fired me," Bala Nandgaonkar, the MNS group leader said.

He said the party would accept action against the legislators. "The party would take a decision on action against Ram Kadam as well," he said.

Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse said BJP would not tolerate such acts by its legislators. "If found in the CCTV footage that our legislators were involved in the beating up of the policeman, the party would stop them from attending the House proceedings for the rest of the session," he said.

NCP spokesman and legislator Nawab Malik said "law makers cannot be law breakers. We enjoy special privileges through which action can be taken against those who violate them."

Malik also demanded that action should be taken against the MLAs for their conduct.

Meanwhile, Suryavanshi was taken to St George hospital for treatment on a stretcher.

PTI