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Media bodies seek action against J&K MLA for threatening press

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New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Media organisations on Sunday demanded strict action against Jammu and Kashmir BJP MLA Choudhary Lal Singh over his “threatening and intimidating” remarks directed at journalists in the Valley.

The Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs of India said in a statement that Singh, a former J&K Minister, had warned journalists at a press conference in Jammu to “draw a line”.

He openly threatened them with consequences and warned them of a fate similar to that of Shujaat Bukhari, the Editor of Rising Kashmir who was shot dead less than a fortnight ago, the statement said.

Bukhari’s assassination was condemned by people in general, besides a number of journalist organisations.

Condemning his remarks, the statement said that Singh also blamed Kashmir journalists for creating a “wrong atmosphere” and told them to control themselves.

Singh resigned from the state cabinet in April following his participation in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in January in support of those accused of rape and murder of a young girl in Kathua.

“We demand that strict action be taken against the lawmaker for making threatening remarks hinting possible violence at journalists in the Valley,” the statement said.

It said that such remarks were nothing short of criminal intimidation and a direct attack on the freedom of the press.

“They also serve to vitiate atmosphere and endanger the lives of journalists who work and live precariously in conflict situations,” the statement read.

–IANS
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Government, not us, denigrating rules: Opposition

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New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) The opposition on Tuesday said that it has been very “decent and dignified” in its conduct while it is the ruling BJP which is “denigrating the rules and the Constitution” and lowering the dignity of Parliament.

In a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that was signed by around half a dozen leaders from different political parties, the opposition said that the government was having both its say and way in all matters while the opposition had been relegated to the margins.

It also underlined how the Chair repeatedly denied the opposition an opportunity to grill the government through no-confidence motion.

“Unfortunately, the government could not only bulldoze the house to get the Budget 2018-19 passed amid a din without any debate and discussion, but also sneak in most retrogressive and anti-democratic measures by way of introducing inadmissible amendments to the Finance Bill and pushing them through without the world knowing what was happening in the temple of the world’s largest democracy,” the letter said.

“To do this, the government moved motions to suspend the rules meant to prevent surreptitious legislation. With deep sense of anguish, we have to state the fact that without the Chair admitting, such motions to move for suspension of rules would not have come before the house, in the first place.”

The opposition also expressed concern at what it called a “new trend” that would prove to be “lethal” to the constitutional democracy of India if not checked, that is, the Chair not admitting the no-confidence motion.

“As you are fully aware, madam Speaker, the concept of ‘no confidence’ flow from Article 75 (3) of the Constitution, which says the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the people. That is the reason why the Rule 198 of Lok Sabha Rules doesn’t vest any discretionary powers in the Speaker as far as admissibility of the no-confidence motion is concerned,” the letter said.

It said that once 50 members stand in favour of the motion, the Speaker has to annouce that the House has granted leave (permission) for no confidence motion to be taken up.

“Yet, we were all witness to the disastrous manner in which the notices given by various parties were dealt with, including one given by a party which was till recently a trusted ally of the ruling party.

“For all your concerns for the image of our Parliament globally, this ignominious chapter in the history of Indian Parliament has no precedent world over,” it said.

“With deep sense of regret, we must place on record, the anguish we felt when media editorially commented not so charitably on the role of the Chair in this entire episode. Any aspersion cast on the Chair reflects poorly on the members of that House as well,” it added.

The letter was signed by Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Mohammed Salim (CPI-M), Jyotiraditya Scindia (Congress), Dharmendra Yadav (SP), Tariq Anwar (NCP), Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav (RJD), Bhagwat Mann (AAP), C.N. Jayadevan (CPI) and P.K. Kunhalikutty (IUML).

–IANS
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