Bible-reading leaves House nonplussed

SHILLONG: The re-assembled session of the Assembly on Friday witnessed interesting scenes as KHNAM legislator Adelbert Nongrum kneeled on the ground while trying to read a verse from the Bible as he was taking part in the discussion on the overall preparedness of the government post lockdown due to COVID-19.
Later, before the end of the session, Parliamentary Affairs minister, Prestone Tynsong, raised a point of order under Rule 304 of the Rules and Procedures of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and informed the House that action and the words of the MLA should be expunged as these were unparliamentary.
Though Nongrum tried to justify his actions, Tynsong said that personal belief of legislators is different, but members of the House would have to follow the rules.
Later, the Assembly Speaker, Metbah Lyngdoh, ruled that the actions and deeds of the MLA would be expunged from the proceedings of the House.
Both Nongrum and Congress MLA from Nongpoh, Mayralborn Syiem had tabled the motion.
Taking part in the discussion, the KHNAM legislator appealed, “We should take COVID-19 as a punishment as we are sinful human beings…, hypocrisy, abortion, recognising same sex marriage going on all around the world”, he said.
Nongrum said, “Let’s not fear and take this not just as a war against an invisible enemy but as a fight against the faith”.
He then sought the Speaker’s permission to read a verse from the Bible, but even before he could decide Nongrum kneeled down just beside his seat in the well of the House.
The Speaker, however, stopped him and asked him to do so from his seat.
Stating that no law is greater than the law of God, Nongrum then walked up to his seat and asked everyone to bow down their heads and repeat after him. However, a very few followed Nongrum.
He read out the verse both in English and Khasi. “Our Father forgive us, have mercy on us…”
An awkward silence prevailed for a while, but soon after the normal proceedings of the House continued.

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