//Police training to control legislators

Police training to control legislators

  By Sanjaya Jena, Bhubaneswar, Orissa

Security staff in Orissa assembly trying to control angry legislators

Security staff often find it difficult to control angry legislators (Pic: Associated Media Foundation)

Security staff in the parliamentary assembly of the east Indian state of Orissa are to get special training from the police – to help them deal with unruly legislators.

Some legislators have disrupted proceedings by hurling footwear, breaking microphones and playing musical instruments in the current legislative session.

The speaker of the assembly, Maheshwar Mohanty, told the BBC that he had asked the police to "impart certain skills" to 22 security staff, including two women, to help them maintain discipline.

For the past two years, Mr Mohanty has been having a hard time conducting proceedings in the house.
The entire opposition, including the state Congress party, have been stalling proceedings over various issues. The Congress party is the main opposition party in the state, which is ruled by coalition of the regional Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the main federal opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).


Stalled  — Last year Mr Mohanty invited the famous Indian guru Ravi Shankar, head of the Art Of Living foundation, to the assembly to give some anger management tips to the legislators.

The guru’s efforts seem to have come to nought.

The current legislative session was stalled for almost three days after three opposition Congress party members lugged in sack loads of coins to pay a 60,000 rupees ($1,1350) fine slapped on them for breaking the speaker’s microphone. They demanded that Mr Mohanty should count the coins on the floor of the house to check that they had paid up the fine.

For three days, the legislators guarded the coins round the clock and did not allow the security staff to collect them, ignoring instructions from the speaker.Mr Mohanty is quick to dispel speculation that the security staff will be taught strong arm tactics by the police to bring unruly legislators under control.

"The training is meant to ensure that they remain more vigilant and effectively control the legislators with utmost restraint and politeness," he says diplomatically. "The whole idea is to ensure internal discipline. I have asked the police to impart certain skills to them so they develop patience and certain skills to tactfully control unruly legislators." "There is absolutely no question of the security staff learning any martial art or coercive technique to tackle the law makers," Mr Mohanty said.



The chief of the Orissa police Suchit Das says the assembly security staff would be given physical exercise training, and some "special courses" to teach them more patience.


Punch-up –Many opposition legislators do not seem to be happy with the move.


Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik was hurt in a legislators’ scuffle (Pic: Sanjib Mukherjee)

"This is an affront to democracy and freedom of members," said Congress member Nalinikant Mohanty.

Umesh Swain, a senior Congress legislator said it was "natural for the opposition to demonstrate and create a scene to draw the attention of the house".

"But using security to control legislatures is highly objectionable," he said.

Proceedings in state assemblies in India are often stormy with legislators protesting noisily and attacking each other in the house.

Six years ago, a Congress legislator, Ramcharan Majhi, was seriously injured in a clash with the ruling Marxist legislators in the West Bengal assembly.

Mr Majhi had pointed at the government benches and called the Marxist legislators a government of murderers