Shiv Sena Demands Azmi's Arrest, Speaker Orders Probe Into Azmi's 'Behaviour'

An inquiry has been ordered into the "behaviour" of Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi in the Maharashtra Assembly and its premises by the protem Speaker. Protem Speaker Ganpatrao Deshmukh made the announcement following repeated
shiv sena demands azmi s arrest speaker orders...
PTI November 12, 2009 8:19 IST

An inquiry has been ordered into the "behaviour" of Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi in the Maharashtra Assembly and its premises by the protem Speaker.

Protem Speaker Ganpatrao Deshmukh made the announcement following repeated demands by Opposition members, who alleged Azmi had made provocative speeches and insulted Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray.

"A detailed inquiry of the matter would be conducted by Principal Secretary of the House as demanded by the Opposition parties and the report would be submitted to the Speaker of the House," Deshmukh said. 

Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse had said that Azmi's misbehaviour in the House should be taken into consideration and action taken against him. 

Deshmukh said the Government would also probe the allegation by the Opposition parties that Azmi was inciting people outside the House. 

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the Government would not condone behaviour that was unbecoming of any member and which would malign the image of the House, within and outside and action would be taken against that member.

The House was adjourned three times on Wednesday  as Opposition Sena-BJP demanded suspension and arrest of Azmi for allegedly showing disrespect towards Thackeray.

Khadse, who moved an adjournment notice, said "repercussions of events in the House are visible across the state."  "Azmi is misusing the House for pushing his political agenda," he alleged.

Alleging that Azmi provoked members of House by showing shoes, Khadse said, "Azmi's behaviour was not examined and one-sided action was taken (suspension of four MNS members). Azmi's son also used foul language from the public gallery, which is condemnable".

Sena group leader Subhash Desai said Azmi is known for creating controversies.  "He was an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts," Desai alleged.  "Azmi's brother was caught distributing money to people when he filed papers for the Lok Sabha poll," he said.

Azmi had on Tuesday commented that Bal Thackeray was an old man making childish remarks. Thackeray in his column in party organ ‘Saamna' had described Monday's slapping incident as a ‘matchfixing incident done according to a script' and had also said that it was Azmi who was trying to gain cheap popularity.

Shiv Sena MLAs on Tuesday had menacingly gheraoed Azmi in his car, and the latter had to beat a hasty retreat with the help of securitymen. Some miscreants stoned his showroom in Colaba on Tuesday. 

Azmi  had told media on Tuesday that "Bal Thackeray is now old. He is frustrated. He says he doesn't want to die in Mumbai as people have not voted for him." 

After Azmi's anti-Thackeray remarks, Shiv Sena members warned the Samajwadi Party MLA against making such remarks.  "Azmi will not be allowed to roam around if he dares say anything against Balasaheb," Sena MLA Eknath Shinde said. 

The Sena members protested Azmi's remarks by stopping Azmi outside Vidhan Bhavan entrance and asking him to clarify the statement.  "Azmi told us that he has not said anything against Balasaheb. We warned him that he will face consequences over his remarks against our leader," Shinde said. 

The four-decade old Shiv Sena has had a violent history. 

In 1989, Shiv Sena corporator Shridhar Khopkar was murdered shortly after he split from the Sena. The clout of Thane Sena strongman Anand Dighe rose amid rumours of his involvement in Khopkar's murder. 

In 2001, when Dighe died at a private hospital while being treated for a fractured leg, Shiv Sainiks torched the building, smashing ambulances, medical equipment and anything else in sight.

Meanwhile, the  MNS on Wednesday  sought revoking of the four year suspension of four of its MLAs, saying it had already apologised for any "disrespect" caused to a woman MLA during Monday's mayhem in the Maharastra assembly but made no mention to the assault on SP member Abu Asim Azmi. 

Making a statement in the House, MNS group leader Bala Nandgaonkar did not allude to the assault on SP MLA Abu Asim Azmi who was their target for not taking oath in Marathi.  "We have always respected the House and will do so. If inadvertently, disrespect was caused to PWP MLA Meenakshi Patil, we have already apologised in the House," he said. 

Patil bore the brunt of MNS fury when she tried to intervene during Monday's incident.  Nandgaonkar said the suspension should be revoked or at least the tenure of suspension reduced.

NCP MLA Nawab Malik pointed out that Nandgaonkar had used a Hindi word "saza" to describe the punishment (Marathi word shiksha) meted out to the four MLAs. PTI 

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