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|December 14, 1998||
RS adjourns for the day over Sena member's comment against Dilip Kumar
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day without transacting any business following an objectionable remark by a Shiv Sena member, Sanjay Nirupam, that thespian Dilip Kumar is a "Pakistani".
Nirupam refused to withdraw his remark even after Chairman Krishan Kant threatened action against him, which plunged the House into turmoil.
Almost all the Opposition members were on their feet to protest to the chair against Nirupam's remarks, who said he had not made any mistake while calling the noted film actor a Pakistani.
The Shiv Sena is angry over Dilip Kumar's support to the controversial film Fire, the screening of which has been suspended in some parts of the country.
In the morning, Krishan Kant adjourned the House till lunch on the issue. When the House reassembled, Vice-Chairman Dr Najma Heptullah adjourned it for the day without even taking her seat. She did not assign any reason for the adjournment.
Krishan Kant had threatened Nirupam with action if he did not withdraw his remark. But the member repeated his remark, saying he had not made any mistake.
Nirupam made the remark as Ramdeo Bhandary (Rashtriya Janata Dal) stood up to associate himself with the special mention of Vyalar Ravi (Congress) regarding a demonstration outside the house of Dilip Kumar in Bombay.
Krishan Kant told the Sena member that he had given a bad name to Parliament and the country and he should apologise for his remark.
Instead, Nirupam repeated his remark, forcing the chairman to adjourn the House.
Earlier, the House witnessed noisy scenes as soon as Ravi got up to speak on the demonstration outside Dilip Kumar's residence by half-naked Shiv Sainiks and its justification by Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Ravi said Dilip Kumar was well within his right to approach the Supreme Court with a public interest litigation on the protest against the film Fire. He also attacked Sena chief Bal Thackeray for his remarks against Dilip Kumar and Shabana Azmi.
This provoked Nirupam to ask if there was anything wrong in the Shiv Sainiks staging a silent demonstration.
Ignoring the chair's directive to let Ravi speak, Nirupam interrupted the Congress member from time to time, inviting the wrath of many other members on the Opposition benches.
Ravi said the demonstration by the Shiv Sainiks was not in conformity with the traditions of a civilised society. He said the Sena chief had become ugly in his expressions.
M Venkaiah Naidu (Bharatiya Janata Party) objected to this, saying the Congress member could not talk about a person who is not a member of the House.
Ravi also spoke about Thackeray's statement that he would not allow the Pakistani cricket team to play in Bombay. He asserted that "Bombay is not the private property of any individual" to the applause of many Opposition members.
Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi denied having supported the action of Shiv Sainiks or any other organisation vandalising theatres showing the controversial film.
He, however, said, "Anything and everything cannot be allowed to be shown in films in the name of freedom of expression."
In a statement, Naqvi said it was regrettable that the country's image as a land of squalor and poverty had been sold for several years to Western countries at a high price in the name of art. "Such attempts to distort the country's image should be discouraged," he added.
Earlier this month, Naqvi had asked the Central Board of Film Certification to have another look at the film in view of the controversy it had caused.
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