Parliament answerable for banning Tripura CM’s speech: Dy Assembly Speaker

Agartala, Aug 16: With Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar alleging that Doordarshan and the All India Radio refused to broadcast his Independence Day address, state Deputy Assembly Speaker Pabitra Kar questioned the federalist structure of the country.

“If the chief minister says anything, it cannot be censored. It should be answerable to the Parliament and Assembly. We oppose it. If this kind of things can be done, then how India can be a federal state?” Kar told ANI.

The Chief Minister on Tuesday alleged that Doordarshan and All India Radio refused to broadcast his customary Independence Day speech and asked him to rewrite and re-record it.

The public broadcasters did not air Sarkar’s speech which was scheduled to be aired at 6.30 am on Tuesday.

As per the media reports, the Chief Minister’s Office was informed via a letter that his speech would not be broadcast unless he “reshaped it”.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) strongly condemned the move and also released an official statement.

“This is a gross infringement on the right of a Chief Minister to address the people of his state on Independence Day. This act is a reminiscent of the Emergency days and goes beyond as it seeks to gag the elected Chief Minister of a state. The Central Government is trampling upon the autonomy of Doordarshan/AIR and Prasar Bharati by such acts of censorship,” the statement read.

The CPM also demanded an action against “those responsible for prohibiting the broadcast,” adding, “the Modi Government should stop treating the Prasar Bharati as a department of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”

The party also tweeted the text of Manik Sarkar’s Independence Day speech on their Twitter handle, adding, “Text of Tripura CM’s Speech which AIR & DD had the audacity to censor. This is an insult 2 People of Tripura & Constitutional Rights of States.”

Image: The letter, assistant director of programmes (policy) for director general, Sanjiv Dosajh, wrote: “Keeping in view the sanctity and solemnity attached with the occasion the broadcast is meant for, the CEO, Prasar Bharati was also consulted and the collective decision taken at Delhi advises that the broadcast may not go with its existing content. AIR/Prasar Bharati will however be more than happy if the Hon’ble Chief Minister agrees to reshape the content making it suitable to the solemnity of the occasion and sentiments of the people of India at large.”

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