Sealed mouths lead to early wrap up of Assembly session
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 25: With the entire Opposition bench resorting to the unprecedented protest of keeping their mouth sealed with pieces of cloth today, the morning session of the Assembly had to wind up barely 30 minutes into the session.

The Assembly which was to start from 11 am and stretch on till 4 pm with one hour of lunch break thrown in between, had to wind up barely 17 minutes after 11 am.

Singjamei AC MLA I Hemochandra caught reporters and the ruling bench by surprise when he trooped into the Assembly hall sporting a piece of black cloth over his mouth.

He was soon followed by the other Opposition MLAs.

In a bid to pacify the Opposition MLAs, Speaker TN Haokip told the Assembly that the time limit was imposed keeping in view the time constraint as well as to protect the sanctity of the House.

The Speaker said that it is human to commit errors and suggested that whatever differences there might be, that may be discussed during lunch break over a cup of team at his chamber.

Haokip said that the matter may be discussed with the leader of the House, Chief Minister O Ibobi, Opposition members and MLAs of all the political parties in his office chamber.

Despite the efforts of the Speaker to break the ice, the Opposition members stuck to their guns and remained seated without uttering a single word.

The first business of the House was the question-answer session.

However as Opposition members, Dr Nimaichand Luwang, L Ibomcha, I Hemochandra, Vivek Raj Wangkhem, S Gopal, BD Behring, Samuel Jendai, S Chandra, N Bihari, S Ibohal, O Joy and M Bhorot who had raised the questions stuck to their ground, there was no further discussion on the business.

A call attention motion raised by O Joy in connection with the excesses committed by security personnel also did not come up for discussion as the Opposition MLA remained seated with his mouth sealed.

On the side of the Treasury bench, Chief Minister O Ibobi who is the Chairman of the Select Committee of the Manipur Entry Tax Bill, 2002, presented a report in the House while the Select Committee Chairman of the Manipur Lok Ayukta and Up-Lok Ayukta Bill, MAHUD Minister L Nandakumar also tabled a report.

Dr M Nara who was appointed Chairman of the House Committee to study the feasibility of including Sanamahi religion in the Census of India presented his report.

Minister N Loken also presented his report in his capacity as the Chairman of the House Committee which was set up to probe the DRDA fund misappropriation allegations of Bishnupur district for the period 1997 to 2002.A private member resolution Bill moved by Dr Nimaichand Luwang, Manipur Official Language (Amendment) Bill 2003 and another private resolution Bill moved by Dr Luwang and L Ibomcha to open a Meitei Mayek Directorate could not be discussed due to the silent protest.

The policy cut and economy cut motion moved by the Opposition with regard to the Administration of Justice, 2004 amounting to a sum of Rs 4,83,23,000 also could not be discussed.