oppn parties Why Manik Sarkar's Speech Was Not Allowed

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  • SC says it will revisit its definition of 'Hindutva' in the light of growing hate speeches
  • Indigo reduces the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra to three months after an inquiry committee finds that it was a Level 1 offense not meriting a 6-month ban
  • Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral says Delhi Police did not act on his phone call asking them to help 16 people trapped in riot-hit areas
  • AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, booked for murder and arson, says he is being framed
  • New HC bench allows the Delhi Police plea that the situation is no conducive to the filing of FIRs and also allows the Centre to become a party to the case
  • Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was part of the bench that pulled up the Delhi Police for not filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches, transferred to Punjab HC
  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
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Why Manik Sarkar's Speech Was Not Allowed

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2017-08-16 20:37:54

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Was it right on part of the Prasar Bharti, the holding company that manages AIR and Doordarshan to refuse to air Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar’s Independence Day speech?

There are two ways to look at it. The first is to go by the excuse Prasar Bharti gave in rejecting to air the speech in its original form – that it was politically charged and did not adhere to unstated pricnicples upholding the sanctity of the day. If you read the speech, you will get an idea that Sarkar went into a diatribe against the policies of the Central government and accused it of creating divisions in the country. It included a supercharged paragraph on cow protectors. Manik Sarkar has the right to air his views on any subject that catches his fancy, but a second reading of the speech gives the impression that it was written to be read out at an election rally and not to address the people of the state on a solemn occasion like Independence Day.

The second is to go by the logic that since it was a speech on Independence Day, is it not pertinent that Sarkar should choose to warn the people of the state about divisive politics that could seriously impact the independence they are enjoying? Celebrating Independence Day is incomplete without focusing on things that keep us independent or things that might threaten the same in future. In that sense, Sarkar was not wrong in warning the people against people sowing seeds of mistrust among communities. But did he not overdo it? A major part of his speech was devoted to ranting against rightist forces. Obviously, a Leftist will rant against rightists but there has to be a time and place for it. A popularly elected leader of a state is not expected to indulge in such lengthy rants in his or her Independence Day speech.

That brings us to the obvious question about how correct it is to allow bureaucrats to censor the speech of an elected chief minister and then decide whether it should be aired or not? Is it Prasar Bharti’s domain to allow the airing of certain views and restrict others? Will it only allow views that sound good to the ears of the ruling dispensation? Or will it be fair and allow all kinds of views to be aired and let the public decide which is correct? It is easy to accuse Prasar Bharti of playing favourites. But when one considers that it was an Independence Day speech, one feels that the mandarins in the body were right in not allowing Sarkar’s speech, which was for major part a disguised rant against all things CPM considers abhorrent and a party political statement.