Thiruvananthapuram: The abduction and assault of a noted actress rocked the Kerala Assembly proceedings on Monday with the opposition alleging that the state government has "weakened the probe" into the infamous incident.
During the Zero Hour, opposition Congress-led UDF members disrupted the proceedings and squatted at the Well of the House. They raised slogans alleging the government was not sincere in unearthing the conspiracy behind the incident.
The House also witnessed heated exchanges between the ruling CPM-led LDF and opposition benches over the safety of women and traded charges on the incidents of attack on women during their respective rules.
As the opposition protest continued, the House was temporarily adjourned for some time.
A meeting of leaders of both the Fronts convened by the Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan to arrive at a consensus for the smooth conduct of the proceedings failed to reach any agreement.
When the House re-assembled after the recess of around half an hour, the opposition members boycotted the further proceedings as the speaker refused to take up a discussion on the matter.
Earlier, while replying to notice for the adjournment motion, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the opposition charge and said the arrest of all the accused in the case, including the prime accused 'Pulser' Suni, was the clear evidence of the government's commitment in the case.
He also said the Congress-led opposition was trying to "politicise the issue unnecessarily" and "use the Assembly floor to create a smoke-screen over the matter."
"Police has strongly intervened into the issue since the beginning. The culprits were nabbed within days as the police had acted efficiently," he said.
Vijayan also maintained that the government has no opinion if there was any conspiracy behind the incident and the police were free to probe the case further.
"The government has not taken a stand that there was no conspiracy behind the incident. We have informed this to the court also. Police have the freedom to go ahead with the investigation," he said.
He added that the opposition's allegation that the government was trying to weaken the case was "completely false."
Attacking the government, opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala said the Chief Minister had said there was no conspiracy behind the incident and it had literally put an end to the probe in the sensational case.
"What right the Chief Minister has to declare a final verdict on the case at the beginning of investigation itself? Through the remarks, he had given an indication that the probe would not progress further," Chennithal said. He also sought an apology from the Chief Minister for his controversial remarks on the case when the investigation was at a crucial stage.
Moving the notice for an adjournment motion, PT Thomas (Congress) wanted the government to take steps to bring before law any "bigwigs" involved in the conspiracy behind the crime.
Thomas, one of the first people's representatives who intervened in the case, also narrated the harrowing experience undergone by the actress as told to him by the victim herself just hours after the incident on 17 February.
After the opposition's boycott during the Zero Hour, the Speaker took up other businesses including the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the Governor's Address.
Earlier in the day, the opposition members, who came with a banner saying "Where is women safety? Goons and mafia roaming", also boycotted the Question Hour when the Speaker refused to take up an adjournment motion on the matter by suspending Question Hour.
The actress was abducted and allegedly molested inside her car by a group of persons, who had forced their way into the vehicle on the night of 17 February near Kochi.
Updated Date: Feb 27, 2017 16:19 PM