Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday attacked a section of the media alleging that they are trying to project JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar as a hero without even considering the nature of allegation against him.
“Without considering the nature of allegation and the incident that happened in JNU, a section of media is trying to project him as a hero of the country. Isn’t it a matter of concern? Why not? After all, he was present there. Investigation is on. Court will decide,” he said.
The minister, while speaking to a news channel against the backdrop of the JNU row, expressed concern over Rahul Gandhi’s “silence” on sloganeering supporting Afzal Guru, since the latter visited JNU in support of the dissent voice.
“Our government fully respects the freedom of dissent and also expression of ideas. In case of Afzal Guru, now it is 2016 and our friends need to recall that he was the principal conspirator of the attack on Parliament in 2001. I was there at that time. If our security forces had not sacrificed their lives and even, if one of the terrorists had entered the Parliament House, all the political leaders would have been killed.”
“He was given capital punishment by the Supreme Court, review, rectification and Presidential pardons were rejected... Now if pro-Afzal slogans are raised what does that mean? You are seeking to bring the entire judicial system to disrepute. Then a slogan is raised ‘Bharat ki barbadi tak jung chalegi...’ (battle will continue until India’s destruction) was raised, and Rahul Gandhi goes there and doesn’t condemn it. That is a matter of more serious concern to me because his party has ruled India for more than 50 years,” Prasad said.
On the issue of attack on journalists by a section of lawyers at the Patiala House Court, Prasad said that he respects their right to protest but they need to abide by law.
“I respect their (lawyers) sentiments but surely attack on media is not permissible,” he said.
Prasad also said that no one is supporting BJP MLA OP Sharma’s behaviour at Patiala House Court complex.
“But he (Sharma) has surrendered and granted bail. No one is supporting his behaviour, he is granted bail because the offence of assault is bailable,” Prasad said.
The cabinet minister was clear on the PDP-BJP alliance and PDP’s position in Afzal Guru issue and said they had an “agenda of governance” for the development of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We stuck to that agenda. That agenda never included Afzal Guru. As chief minister, Mufti sahib never raised that issue.” he added.