MPs castigate Azam Khan for sexist remarks, demand action

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 26, 2019 Published on July 26, 2019

azam-khan   -  THE HINDU

The lawmakers demand strict action against him

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla will ask Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan to apologise on the floor of the House for his sexist remarks against BJP member Rama Devi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said on Friday.

In a meeting of floor leaders of all parties, chaired by the Lok Sabha Speaker, it was decided that Khan should apologise or face action. “The Speaker will ask Azam Khan to tender an unconditional apology to Rama Devi in the House. If he does not, the Chair has been authorised to take action against him,” Joshi said.

Read also: FIR filed against Azam Khan for ‘underwear’ jibe against Jaya Prada

Participating in the debate on the Triple Talaq Bill, Khan had on Thursday referred to the intervention of Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and read out a couplet “... tu idhar-udhar ki baat na kar ...” (do not divert from the topic). At this, Rama Devi, who was presiding over the proceedings, asked Khan not to ‘look here and there’ and address the Chair.

To this, the SP member made sexist remarks against the Chair, triggering outburst in the House. The remarks were expunged from the records.

Women MPs unite

Several women MPs cutting across party lines wrote to the Speaker demanding stringent action against Khan. Rama Devi demanded that Khan be suspended from the Lok Sabha for the entire five-year term. Earlier, women members in the Lok Sabha on Friday spoke in one voice condemning Khan and demanded that he apologise or else face suspension.

During Zero Hour, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said Khan’s remarks during the debate on Triple Talaq Bill on Thursday were a ‘blot’ on all legislators.

Azam’s remarks were slammed as double-meaning, malicious, utterly condemnable and a blot on all legislators by the ministers and MPs who spoke after BJP’s Sanghmitra Maurya raised the issue during the Zero Hour.

A number of members from various parties, including the BJP, the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, the Trinamool Congress, the DMK and the Biju Janata Dal, said a strong message should be sent by the House against such conduct.

The House also witnessed heated exchanges between Congress and BJP MPs during the proceedings. Smriti Irani attacked SP leader Akhilesh Yadav for supporting Khan in the House on Thursday after the row erupted.

Khan and Akhilesh Yadav were not present in the House on Friday.

After hearing the members for nearly an hour, Speaker Om Birla said he will hold a meeting with leaders of all political parties and take a decision. Stating his party is against any kind of misbehaviour, Leader of the Congress Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury referred to his party leader Sonia Gandhi being called “Italian puppet and daughter of Italy” in the past, remarks which drew strong protest from the members of Treasury Benches who said the issue should not be politicised.

Taking a dig at the opposition parties, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said why was there ‘dilemma’ and ‘hesitation’ in taking a stand on the issue. She said Khan’s comments were utterly condemnable and the House was expecting the Speaker to take an exemplary action.

Chowdhury said the person at the centre of the issue (Khan) should also be heard. He suggested that the matter be sent to privilege or ethics committee but later agreed that the Speaker should take a call.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said either Khan should tender an apology or he should be suspended from the House. Trinamool Congress member Kalyan Banerjee said that a person who does not show respect to women does not know Indian culture. NCP’s Supriya Sule said she hangs her head in shame at Khan’s offensive language and called for strict punishment.

Published on July 26, 2019
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