Indian Lawmaker Unleashes Pepper Spray in Parliament

Lawmakers suspended in scuffle

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Lawmakers in India have apparently decided to take a page from the playbook of the brawling MPs of Seoul, and it’s not a good look. Eighteen lawmakers were suspended on Thursday in New Delhi from Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament, after a scene of unprecedented chaos broke out between supporters and detractors of the formation of a new Indian state, Telangana.

That the creation of Telangana, which would split the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, is a heated issue is not suprising. Supporters of a unified AP are worried about losing their capital, Hyderabad, which would fall under Telangana’s jurisdiction—and take a lot of money and political sway with it. But the behavior on display Thursday isn’t going to see any political wins. Instead, MPs were seen rushing out of the house covering their eyes and noses after L. Rajagopal, a Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh, reportedly used pepper spray after he says he was attacked by other lawmakers, according to  “If women can use pepper spray to defend themselves, then why can’t I use it to defend myself?” the news site reported him as saying.

India is famous for its raucous politics. After the scuffle, the beleaguered Speaker of Lok Sabha Meira Kumar listed off the names of lawmakers, including Rajagopal, who will be suspended for the rest of the session. “They may forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House,” Kumar said. Some decorum, at least, was maintained.