‘Press Council chief has crossed all limits’

Describing the Press Council of India’s report on censorship in Bihar as “biased and motivated,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said its Chairman Markandey Katju “has dialled a wrong number.”

“His is a jaundiced view,” Mr. Kumar said in his address to the Assembly. There was no media censorship in Bihar and the government was not exerting any pressure.

“I was very hurt when he compared me to Dhanananda of the Nanda dynasty,” Mr. Kumar said referring to Justice Katju’s comments on an earlier visit to Bihar. “Such remarks are insulting and they lower the dignity of his constitutional position and his stature as a retired Supreme Court judge. Who has given him the right to speak like that? Unlike him, I come from a very humble background but that does not mean anyone can say anything about me.”

Mr. Kumar said Justice Katju had “crossed all limits” and his accusations of the government gagging the press were “unsubstantiated.”

He expressed doubts about the credibility of the team constituted by Justice Katju and the manner in which the report was circulated. “A person who launched a motivated attack on me constituted a committee and, before the report was approved, circulated it through the Internet in a planned manner,” the Chief Minister told the Opposition members who sought a special debate.

Mr. Kumar said he had the people’s mandate and such “hollow threats” would not shake him.