Treasury and opposition bench lawmakers yesterday locked horns and verbally attacked and blamed each other indecently for "misrule" in the country, creating an intense situation in parliament.
The lawmakers taking part in the thanksgiving motion on the president's address used indecent and un-parliamentary language. They even launched personal attack on opponents ignoring the rules of procedure and paying no heed to the speaker's repeated request to stop.
Speaker Abdul Hamid, who was presiding over the sitting, constantly urged lawmakers not to use indecent and un-parliamentary language in their statements and attack their opponents. He told them he would expunge those statements.
The speaker said, "I cannot censor anyone's speech before he or she delivers it since I do not know what he or she is going to say. I cannot gag a lawmaker."
Before the discussion on thanksgiving motion began, opposition deputies staged a brief walkout protesting the speaker's refusal to allow BNP lawmaker Moudud Ahmed speak on a point of order.
They returned eight minutes later and took part in the discussion.
Things heated up in the House at the beginning of yesterday's proceedings when BNP lawmaker Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anne, taking the floor on a point of order, alleged that 40,000 opposition leaders and activists were killed during the 1972-75 Awami League rule.
"Ziaur Rahman is being labelled a killer. Then it should be said that Sheikh Mujib was also a killer," he said.
Treasury bench lawmakers broke into a noisy protest and shouted at the BNP lawmaker, sending the House into a deafening din.
Amid the growing noise, the speaker prevented Anne from speaking and tried to bring the House in order. "Please, be quiet. What can I do if everybody shouts," he said.
As the atmosphere calmed down, the speaker allowed Anne to complete his speech.
The calm did not last any longer, as Anne demanded holding discussion on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's adviser Towfique-e-Elahi Chowdhury and her son Sajeeb Wazed Joy taking "$5 million in bribe".
Taking the floor on a point of order, Chief Whip Abdus Shahid came down heavily on Anne and demanded the speaker expunge the "un-parliamentary" speech of Anne.
BNP lawmaker Syeda Asifa Ashrafi Papia said, "Moudud Ahmed wanted to speak about the government's decision to change the name of Zia International Airport but he was not given the floor. So, we had staged the walkout."
After the opposition's return, Papia was given the floor to take part on the discussion on thanksgiving.
Papia launched a blistering attack on the Bangabandhu's government. "Women and girls took shelter in jungles to save them from the Mujib Bahini. Even youths did not dare to protest in the face of repression of the Rakkhi Bahini," she said.
Amid desk thumping by fellow lawmakers of her party and shouting of treasury bench MPs in presence of the Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina, Papia continued, "They established a rule of killing. They began the culture of crossfire by killing Siraj Shikder."
Without naming Hasina, Papia said, "Wearing an attractive green sari and pearl necklace, chief of a party while going abroad announced that all activities of the last caretaker government will be validated."
Taking part in the discussion, Awami League lawmaker Khan Tipu Sultan started speaking about Papia's personal life in a humorous way. But his remarks did not go well with Papia and she stood up and sought the floor to clarify.
When Awami League lawmaker Abdullah Al Islam Jacob questioned the character of BNP chief Khaleda Zia during the war, the outraged opposition bench stood up protesting his remarks and demanded it to be expunged.
When BNP lawmaker ZIM Mostafa Ali claimed that Jacob sought BNP nomination for the 1991 polls, Awami League lawmaker Makbul Hossain in a counterattack said Jacob was underage for contesting the 1991 polls but his father was a BNP lawmaker.
"But Mostafa's father was a number-one Razakar," Makbul claimed.
Awami League member of parliament Anwar Hossain demanded posthumous trial of Ziaur Rahman in connection with his involvement in the assassination of Bangabandhu.
Opposition lawmakers alleged that the government established a rule of repression and killing and has failed to prevent price hike of essentials and maintain law and order.
Treasury bench lawmakers in return said BNP patronises the politics of killing and it killed 23,000 opposition leaders and activists and they established the rule of corruption and repression.
Infuriated by the remarks on Zia by Awami League lawmaker Nazrul Islam Babu, opposition lawmakers again stormed out of the House around 7:40pm, throwing files and papers. Some even headed towards the speaker's podium.
Babu had termed Zia a killer. "Zia who killed many freedom fighters cannot be labelled only a freedom fighter. He could be labelled a killer-slash-freedom fighter."
The opposition lawmakers did not return from their walkout last night and the speaker adjourned the sitting till 3:00pm today after Babu completed his speech.