A parliamentarian used pepper spray in the Lok Sabha and another flung a computer in unprecedented clashes in Indian Parliament as the controversial bill to create Telangana by dividing Andhra Pradesh was introduced today.
18 MPs may be suspended for the clashes.
Two sets of MPs, for and against Telangana, rushed towards the Speaker's chair and started fighting when Congress MP L Rajgopal, 53, took out pepper spray and aimed it around the house, causing an instant and severe bout of coughing among MPs.
The impact was so severe that a doctor was rushed in, some MPs reported to a nearby hospital and the vast Lok Sabha had to be aired out.
"I am too anguished," said Speaker Meira Kumar, who went home saying she felt the effects of the spray from her office next door.
MPs are never frisked when they enter Parliament but today's incident has spurred calls for a change in rules.
"I am told that pepper powder and other weapons were brought into the house," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said.
T Venugopal, an MP from the Telugu Desam Party, denied waving a knife but he did pull out a mic while another MP flung a computer.
Mr Rajgopal had told NDTV this morning, "This government can't bring the bill." He was one of the six MPs expelled by the Congress for moving a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister over the Telangana plan. These MPs are from Seemandhra, the non-Telangana region that is vehemently opposed to the new state.
"What happened is disgraceful, unprecedented, unforgivable," said senior BJP parliamentarian Jaswant Singh.
Constitutional expert Rajiv Dhawan remarked, "Pepper spray is for women to protect themselves, not for MPs."
Since morning, fire extinguishers and blankets had been kept ready in Parliament after another Seemandhra MP, Sabbam Hari, allegedly threatened to set himself afire.
On Wednesday, when MPs nearly attacked each other in the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister said, "My heart bleeds to see what is happening in the House."(Source: NDTV)