Azam Khan’s remarks spark furore in Lok Sabha

Akhilesh Yadav defends party MP amid calls for apology

July 25, 2019 05:28 pm | Updated June 08, 2020 10:35 pm IST - New Delhi

Samajwadi Party member Azam Khan speaks in the Lok Sabha on July 25, 2019. Photo: LSTV/PTI

Samajwadi Party member Azam Khan speaks in the Lok Sabha on July 25, 2019. Photo: LSTV/PTI

Lok Sabha on Thursday evening witnessed high drama when BJP MP Rama Devi, in the Chair, took objection to a comment made by Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Azam Khan who was speaking during the debate on the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2019. 

The House erupted with demands for Azam Khan’s apology even as Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav defended him with Ms. Devi stating: “This is not the way to speak to a woman. Expunge your remarks.”

Attempting to clarify, Azam Khan said: “You are my sister. I have had a long political career, it is not possible for me to say anything bad. If there is a single unparliamentary word in what I said, then I declare my resignation from Parliament."

Akhilesh Yadav, who stood up to defend Azam Khan, faced cries of “shame” from the ruling party. However, Mr. Yadav continued and said: “I don’t think Azam Khan ji meant any disrespect to the Chair (Rama Devi). They (BJP MPs) are badtameez  (insolent)....these people are so ill-behaved and they point fingers at us?”

Speaker Om Birla, who resumed Chair, demanded an apology from Akhilesh Yadav.

He said: “It is very easy for all of you to demand 'expunge this, expunge that', but why should the need to expunge arise at all? Once a remark is given, it is already in the public domain. Therefore, we all should speak, keeping the dignity of Parliament in mind.”

Earlier, Mr. Khan speaking on the triple talaq bill and referring to the intervention of Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, read out a couplet “... tu idhar-udhar ki baat na kar  (do not divert from the topic) ...”.

At this, Ms. Devi asked Mr. Khan to address the Chair. It was in response to this that the SP member made the “objectionable” remark. at the Chair.

Following the outcry Danish Ali (BSP) rose to walk out saying he too was not allowed to speak with Mr. Khan joining him stating that he cannot speak when he was being insulted. Members of SP and BSP then walked out of the proceedings. 

Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Speaker should use the rule while running the House. “We are discussing triple talaq bill and if members of minority community are leaving the house, it is not good,” Mr. Chowdhury said.

The Speaker noted that maintaining the dignity of the House is the responsibility of all members.

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