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Left condemns DD’s ‘refusal’ to air Tripura CM’s pre-recorded I-Day speech

Doordarshan however aired a live speech of the chief minister given at the Independence Day ceremony held at the Assam Rifles ground in state capital Agartala on Tuesday morning.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2017 22:22 IST
Priyanka Deb Barman
Priyanka Deb Barman
Hindustan Times, Agartala
Independence Day,CPI(M),Tripura
Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar inspects the 71st Independence Day parade in Agartala on Tuesday.(PTI)

CPI(M) on Tuesday strongly condemned Doordarshan’s alleged refusal to broadcast a pre-recorded Independence Day speech of Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar after he refused to change parts of the message that Prasar Bharati found inappropriate for the occasion.

Doordarshan withheld the speech having references to “gau raksha” and “attacks on minorities”, but aired a live speech of the chief minister given at the Independence Day ceremony held at the Assam Rifles ground in state capital Agartala on Tuesday morning which the CPI(M) claimed was packed in the news bulletin.

Like every year, DD and All India Radio had sought permission for recording the chief minister’s message. The speech was recorded at the secretariat on August 12, and was to be broadcast on August 14 evening.

But the Agartala centre of DD on Monday said it would not be able to telecast the pre-recorded message because Prasar Bharati, the autonomous body that governs DD and AIR, found it inapt for I-Day.

Following Prasar Bharati’s order, DD sought some changes in the speech for it to be telecast. AIR too was in a dilemma whether or not to air Sarkar’s pre-recorded speech without changes.

Sarkar refused to change the content of his message and condemned the broadcasting agency’s decision as “undemocratic and intolerable”.

In the pre-recorded speech, Sarkar said that a conspiracy was going on to create a division by “trying to transform India into a state believing in a particular religion and spreading message of gau raksha”.

He also said the minority and Dalit communities were being attacked and denied security, and the Centre’s anti-people policy was affecting peace and tranquillity. “Unemployment, poverty are prevailing while the government is not taking any step to change the economic policy of the corporate.”

Condemning the action, the CPI(M) took to Twitter to vent anger. “Doordarshan refuses to broadcast Tripura CM Manik Sarkar’s speech. Is this the cooperative federalism that PM Modi talks about? Shame!”

DD’s Agartala centre station director, Shankar Prasad Mondal, however, refuted the allegation and said the chief minister’s programme was aired Tuesday evening at 6.15 pm.

The centre everyday broadcasts Bengali news from 6:15 to 6:30 pm.

CPI(M) leaders said DD only packed in parts of Sarkar’s live speech given at the Assam Rifles ground, in their news bulletin, and not the pre-recorded speech.

The CPI(M) politburo in a statement, condemned “the censorship of the CM’s Independence Day speech”, and demanded stern action against those responsible for preventing the broadcasting of the speech”.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said Doordarshan was “not the private property” of the BJP-RSS and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “instructing his cronies to black out voices” of the Opposition, including that of an elected chief minister.

Tagging the tweet, he hit out at the central government saying the channel’s alleged refusal to air Sarkar’s speech was “illegal”.

The thrust of Sarkar’s I-Day speech was on protecting communal harmony and peace in the state. “Unity in diversity is the spirit of this country and we must ensure freedom of all communities irrespective of caste and creed.

He also lauded the Left Front government for “successfully eradicating insurgency” and paving the way for development with people’s cooperation.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Aug 15, 2017 20:42 IST