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Oppn for privilege against media for publishing expunged remarks

New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha today 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 an SP leader, leading to a brief adjournment of the proceedings.

They alleged that due to the publication and broadcast of the expunged remarks of SP leader Naresh Agrawal, his house was attacked by BJP youth activists.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien assured that he would look into the demand of the agitating members but asked them to first give notice along with material evidence.

“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 these remarks made in the House and expunged by the Chair on Wednesday.

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

Terming the issue raised by the Opposition as a serious matter, the Deputy Chairman said if anything has been expunged, no one can print it and nobody has the authority to file an FIR on the basis of the expunged remarks.

The issue was raised by Agrawal himself saying certain remarks made by him in the House were expunged by the Chair which had also ordered against publication or telecast of those remarks.

Agrawal also alleged that members of BJP’s youth wing BJYM had attacked and vandalised his house in Delhi while a ruling party worker filed an FIR against him in Meerut in connection with these remarks.

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

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

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.

Joining the issue, Javed Ali Khan (SP) said that an editor of a publicaton 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 on their mobile phones.

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

PTI