CHANDIGARH: The suspension of Congress leader Raghuvir Singh Kadian from Haryana Assembly session was revoked on Monday after he expressed regret over tearing a copy of the anti-conversion bill introduced by the state government on March 4.
Kadian, a six-time MLA, had been debarred from attending the remaining sittings of the ongoing budget session for tearing the copy of the bill.
Kadian expressed regret and the House passed a resolution revoking his suspension.
However, before the issue of the Congress leader's suspension rocked the House, Leader of Opposition, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, raised the matter on Monday, saying although he does not justify Kadian's act of tearing the bill, it should be seen as a reaction to the "sudden provocation" of Chief Minister M L Khattar's remarks.
Taking a jibe at Congress legislators following the introduction of the Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill, 2022, Khattar on Friday had said in the House that "all the people sitting on these benches can get their religions converted".
The chief minister had also said there is a provision in the bill that if a person is willing to go for conversion, he or she can apply for it by submitting an application to the district magistrate.
Khattar's jibe was strongly opposed by Congress legislators who later took back his statement.
After the bill was tabled on Friday, Kadian had alleged that it reflects the intention of "divisive policies" and had demanded the bill be sent to a select committee.
Hooda said, "I am not saying the bill should have been torn. But the Leader of the House (CM) made some remarks for which he later expressed regret. I am saying there was a sudden provocation and under sudden provocation, he (Kadian) tore the bill. He was suddenly provoked by words uttered by the chief minister.
"It was graceful on the chief minister's part that he withdrew his remarks, but here I am talking about sudden provocation," Hooda, a former chief minister, said.
The Haryana government on Friday introduced the bill against religious conversion through force, undue influence or allurement, triggering vociferous opposition from the Congress.
Speaker Gian Chand Gupta had suspended Kadian for the remaining sittings of the Budget session for tearing a copy of bill which will be taken up for discussion and voting in one of the next sittings.
Intervening in the matter on Monday, Khattar said, "I want to clarify things. Did Kadian ji tear the bill's copy after I spoke or before that? Let's clarify that first."
At this, Hooda said that the House record should be checked.
Hooda said that if Kadian had torn the bill before Khattar's remarks, it will be his (Hooda's) responsibility to make Kadian express regret before entire House.
Khattar said both the cases -- whether Kadian tore bill before or after CM's remarks -- is wrong.
Pointing towards Khattar, Hooda said, "In the heat of the moment, you tell us that we can change our religion. Is there a bigger Hindu than me or him (Kadian)?".
Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, however, said it was the duty of all members to maintain decorum of the House.
"When the bill was introduced and taken up for discussion, it was a legal document and tearing it is a grave insult to the House and violation of its dignity," the Speaker said.
"I had told Kadian (on Friday) to express regret, but he did not do so. I am sitting in this Chair to maintain decorum. Both ruling and opposition benches have to play their role in maintaining decorum," the Speaker said.
Hooda said, "We all are human beings and there can be sudden provocation" and insisted that video of the House proceedings (of Friday) be played out".
"My question is whether the Bill was torn before or after CM's remarks," said Hooda.
To this, the Speaker said it is not important whether the bill was torn before or after the remarks, but what was important is that tearing the bill is unpardonable and asked Hooda not to defend the wrong.
After this, the chief minister requested the speaker to play out the video of proceedings in his chamber.
The Speaker adjourned the House for 20 minutes.
After the House resumed, Hooda said the bill was torn after CM's remarks and requested the speaker call back Kadian in the interest of democracy.
Later, Khattar while referring to his jibe at Congress members said, he had already taken back his remarks and urged the Speaker to take a decision on Kadian's suspension as he deemed fit.
The Speaker said if Kadian is willing to come back, regret his act and if the House has no objection, then his suspension can be revoked.
Later, Kadian came to the Assembly and expressed regret for his act.
Later, the assembly passed a resolution revoking his suspension.