Opposition Congress MLAs Wednesday wore black badges inside the Assam Assembly protesting against the removal of a child's black jacket allegedly on the instructions of security personnel at a function of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The Congress legislators staged a walkout after the speaker turned down an adjournment motion to discuss the matter.
On Tuesday, January 29, a video of a mother removing a black jacket of her crying three-year-old child allegedly on the instructions of security personnel before entering Sonowal's function in Biswanath district drew sharp criticism from the people, prompting the chief minister to order a police inquiry.
Most of the members of the Congress and the AIUDF also wore black clothes and termed Tuesday's incident as an attack on the freedom of expression.
Noisy scenes were witnessed in the assembly after the matter was raised in the Question Hour, prompting Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami to adjourn the House for 10 minutes.
When it reassembled, Goswami rejected two adjournment notices brought by Congress MLAs Abdul Khaleque and Rupjyoti Kurmi, saying the matter was not of "exceptional nature" and it can be discussed in other devices like the debate on the Governor's speech.
On this, the Congress legislators staged a walkout, saying that the matter is of public importance and urgent in nature.
Immediately, opposition All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) also walked out in protest against the "statement" by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, who gave logic against the admissibility of the adjournment motion.
Earlier in support of his notice, Khaleque said: "Nobody can snatch away the right to wear one's one choice of cloth or the colour. It is a Constitutional right. The police violated the freedom of speech and expression." The Congress MLA, who came wearing a black shirt and coat, also said: "We condemn the action of the government. Will we now change the colour of our hair? To protest this action, we are wearing black today." Kurmi, who was wearing black clothes and a black sun glass inside the House, said, "I am sure the Speaker is also hurt by yesterday's incident of the child. It is a shame! That is why, today I am wearing everything black inside and outside," He also said various groups and the general public are protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and ministers are shown black flags where ever they are going.
With massive protests going on in the state against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, black flags are being shown to ministers and senior BJP leaders
Responding to the Congress's charges, Patowary said no such direction from the government has been issued to prevent wearing of black clothes and the chief minister has already ordered the DGP to enquire the child's incident.
"A design is going on to malign the government. It is being done to tarnish the image of the CM," he said.
Other opposition legislators who were wearing black clothes include former speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi, Ilias Ali, Nandita Das, Sukur Ali Ahmed, Mamun Imdadul Haque Chawdhury, Roselina Tirkey, Sherman Ali Ahmed, Jakir Hussain Sikdar, Nurul Huda, Rekibuddin Ahmed, Anwar Hussain Laskar and Aminul Islam.
The Tuesday video has gone viral on social media and has also been aired by local TV news channels.
Many adult male visitors at the chief minister's programme to lay foundation stone for an Eri spun silk mill were also seen in the video removing their black jackets and woollen pullovers.
The video comes close on the heels of security personnel deployed at Republic Day functions in the state frisking people from carrying black clothes to the events that were attended by ministers.
With massive protests going on in the state against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, black flags are being shown to ministers and senior BJP leaders. wherever they go during the last few weeks.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India even if they do not possess any document.