Say what you will about the U.S. Congress—the acrimony, government shutdowns, debt ceiling standoffs—but, at least the sparring is verbal. In India, not so much. On Thursday, a debate over creating a new state in southern India spiraled completely out of control when a Member of Parliament, named L Rajagopal, whipped out some pepper spray and let loose. How bad was it? First off, he says he used the pepper spray in self-defense. Here’s a sketch of the utter chaos in India’s legislative chamber from the BBC:
Mr Rajagopal smashed a glass and used pepper spray on his colleagues when Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde tried to table the bill to create Telangana, which will be carved out of Andhra Pradesh state. Some unconfirmed reports said another MP pulled out a knife. Several other MPs were reportedly involved in clashes with their opponents. Mr Rajagopal told Indian media he had acted in self-defence after being attacked. The Press Trust of India (PTI) reported that four ambulances were called in and an unspecified number of MPs were taken to hospital. Indian television showed members of parliament leaving the colonial-era building coughing and spluttering, some wiping their eyes.
Rajagopal was suspended from parliament along with 16 other MPs, according to Reuters.