Cong walks out of Punjab assembly on heroin smuggling issue

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Chandigarh, Mar 24 (UNI) The opposition Congress party today staged a noisy walkout from the Punjab assembly after their demand for a discussion on heroin smuggling into the state was disallowed by Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon.

Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal raised the issue during the zero hour and made a reference to the seizure of 22 kg heroin in Amritsar district yesterday.

While pointing out that the contraband was seized by a central agency (DRI), she wondered whether the Punjab Police was ''sleeping over'' on largescale smuggling of heroin into the state.

At this juncture, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal intervened to tell the House that heroin smugging had been taking place over a few years and Punjab police had also made heroin seizures.

The police and state agencies worked in coordination with the Central agencies in such matters, he clarified.

However, Mr Sukhpal Khaira (Cong) supported Ms Bhattal's demand for special discussion on heroin smuggling, saying ''it was a very serious issue.'' Mr Khaira, went a step further to point out that the alleged accused in yesterday's case was an Akali Dal activist.

Mr Brahmmahendra (Cong) even demanded an assurance from the Chief Minister that the probe into the case would not be ''influenced''.

However, the Speaker refused to permit a special discussion on the issue and maintained that the matter could be taken up during routine discussions in the House.

The Speaker's ruling did not satisfy the Congress members and they walked out of the House in protest.

However, when about ten minuted later, a Call Attention Motion was being taken up in the House, they returned to their seats.


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