The Himachal Pradesh Congress on Monday staged a walkout from the HP assembly over alleged confinement of MLA Sunder Singh Thakur in Kullu Superintendent of Police (SP)’s office premises.

The MLA was allegedly confined in the SP office premises after an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) working in the office tested positive and the office except control room was closed as per the containment protocol.

Leader of the Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri raised the issue through attention motion as soon as the House was convened and demanded action against Kullu SP Gaurav Singh for endangering the life of the HP Legislative Assembly member.

“The MLA was contained in Kullu SP office on Sunday and by doing so, his life was put his life in danger,” Agnihotri said, adding the entire office premises were sealed despite government orders.

Agnihotri said as per state government’s orders issued on 30 July, only the room where an employee worked needed to be sealed, not the entire premises as was done by Kullu SP, while the premises needed to be properly sanitized.

In addition, the orders for notifying containment zones were issued by Deputy Commissioner or concerned Sub Division Magistrate (SDM) and the SP didn’t have the authority to do so, he said.

He termed it an unlawful way to confine Congress MLA and said HP Assembly Speaker Vipin Singh Parmar should have been informed about the action as the monsoon session was underway.

“11 Congress party members including Sunder Singh Thakur were confined to a room which is a violation of human rights,” he alleged, while calling on the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and state government to not to degrade the institution of MLA to this level.

Replying to the opposition charge in HP assembly, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur advised opposition members and Agnihotri to not to politicize the issue and said the SP took action as per the situation as the MLA was asked to vacate the premises but he refused to comply with the directions.

“Sunder Singh Thakur was staging a protest against police inaction over BJP workers’ protest and alleged scuffle in his hotel, inside the premises of SP Kullu office since Saturday which was against norms.

A person is allowed to protest outside the office and not inside premises of a public representative,” he added. He said an ASI working in the SP office was tested positive for COVID-19 and after that process to implement Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) was started. The staff told him to vacate premises as it needed to be sanitized and sealed as per set protocol but he refused to budge and continued with his protest, leading to the situation.

Thakur further stated that the MLA seeking arrest of former MLA Maheshwar Singh for protests outside his office that was located besides Congress office in Kullu which had led to counter sloganeering from both sides. The BJP protest was part of statewide agitation on the issue of demolition of Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut office by Shiv SenaCongress alliance government in Maharashtra, he added.