Oppn: Act against media for publishing expunged remarks

RSTV Bureau

The Rajya Sabha on Friday witnessed an uproar with Opposition members, including those from the Congress, seeking initiation of privilege proceedings against certain media houses for disseminating the expunged remarks of Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal. The uproar led to a brief adjournment of the proceedings of the House.

Samajwadi Party Leader Naresh Agrawal

Samajwadi Party Leader Naresh Agrawal

Agrawal said his house was attacked by BJP youth activists because certain media houses published and broadcast his expunged remarks made in the House on Wednesday. Other Opposition parties like Congress put their weight behind Agrawal and demanded strict action against the media houses.

Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien assured that he would look into the demand.

“Give notice with evidence and I will take action,” he said, as some members including Sukhendu Shekhar Roy (TMC) and Anand Sharma (Congress) sought immediate initiation of  privilege proceedings against those newspapers and TV channels which had disseminated the comments.

“I cannot act like an instant coffee. Notice has to be examined. (Give notice) I will come back today itself,” Kurien said.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien in Rajya Sabha

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien in Rajya Sabha

The Deputy Chairman called the issue raised by the Opposition a serious matter. He categorically said, anything that has been expunged cannot be printed, and nobody has the authority to file an FIR on the basis of the expunged remarks.

The issue was raised by Agrawal himself, who alleged that members of BJP’s youth wing BJYM had attacked and vandalised his house in Delhi, and a ruling party worker filed an FIR against him in Meerut in connection with the remarks made by him.

The SP leader said that if a member is threatened for speaking in the House, it amounts to disrespect of all the MPs of that House as well.

Kurien asked the government to enquire into the incident and take action.

“If the MP’s home has been vandalised or attacked, the government should enquire, come back (to the House) and take action,” said the Deputy Chairman.

However, the Opposition did not yield and several members including those from Congress, SP and Left parties trooped into the Well shouting slogans against the BJP.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the House can take action as per the rules, adding that the government was against any kind of violence.

Javed Ali Khan (SP) said that an editor of a publication had gone to the extent of writing on his official website, that had he been in the House then, he would have held the collar of the member and dragged him out.

Kurien repeatedly called for material evidence and also said he cannot rely on Whatsapp messages as some members were displaying them on their mobile phones.

As the opposition members continued to raise slogans, Kurien adjourned the House for about 15 minutes till noon.