Indian media: Outrage over MPs behaviour

The Indian parliament has recently been the scene of unruly behaviour Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Indian parliament has recently been the scene of unruly behaviour

Media are calling on lawmakers to get their act together after a series of recent incidents in which members of the parliament in Delhi and state assemblies resorted to unruly behaviour during proceedings.

The Pioneer quotes a top Delhi Police official as saying that penal action will be initiated against the MP who last week used pepper spray against his colleagues during a heated debate on the bill to create the new state of Telangana.

A report in the Deccan Herald says that a member of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly has had to apologise for repeatedly slapping a marshal who was escorting him out of the House after he created a ruckus.

The Indian Express recalls another unruly episode, in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, where two lawmakers took off their shirts this week to protest against the delay of payments to sugarcane farmers.

They have been referred to the conduct committee of the legislative body, the paper says.

"Honourable members of our esteemed assemblies and parliament, it seems, can't keep their shirts on. Or contain their violent urges," The Tribune exclaims in an editorial.

"They would have us believe they are doing it to defend the interests of the people they represent. They need to understand their acts are seen for what they are - criminal offences," the daily adds.

For The Pioneer, such acts are "a mockery of democracy".

The newspaper is worried that while incidents of "disruptive and inappropriate behaviour seem to have taken on alarming proportions in recent weeks, the fact is that this has been an upward trend".

It writes that "in resorting to vandalism and hooliganism…these elected representatives have betrayed the trust of the people who elected them".

Their conduct "fuels disrespect for the state… and encourages anarchy," warns The Pioneer.

"There is little doubt that there have to be punitive measures against those who violate the sanctity of parliament and the legislatures," concludes the Hindustan Times.

Election promises

Ahead of general elections due in a few months, the Election Commission has urged political parties to indicate how they intend to fulfil the promises in their election manifestos, reports The Indian Express.

According to the poll body, the programmes must not only "reflect the rationale" behind a promise but also have to "broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for it".

Officials say the new guidelines, as part of the model code of conduct for political parties, are aimed at ensuring "free and fair polls".

Caste marriages

Meanwhile, an influential village elder has asked the Supreme Court not to interfere with local customs governing marriages, reports the Hindustan Times.

"I do not challenge the Supreme Court, but ask them not to entangle itself in it, as… the marriage of our children is our sole business", khap panchayat (caste-based council of village elders) leader Naresh Tikait is quoted as saying.

The infamous khap panchayats in north India forbid marriages within the same caste or clan and are often known to order honour killings.

The elder also sought to defend the chilling practice of honour killings, saying that "parents are forced to take extreme steps to save their face in society" when children marry within the same clan, the paper adds.

And finally, unique artefacts, including Chinese coins, have been discovered in the seabed in Kollam in the southern state of Kerala, The Hindu reports.

Archaeologists say the ancient objects can potentially tell the story of a "bygone" India-China link and trade relations with other ancient empires, the daily adds.

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