Not going to court over censorship of my I-Day speech: Manik Sarkar

Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar on Friday said his government will not go to court against the censorship of his Independence Day speech by national broadcaster Prasar Bharati, but the ruling CPI-M said they would raise the issue in Parliament.

“We are not thinking of going to court against Prasar Bharati for censoring my recorded Independence Day speech,” Sarkar told reporters.

“Instead of going to court, we will tell the people about the ‘undemocratic, autocratic and intolerant’ steps of Prasar Bharati.”

Sarkar, a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member who has been chief minister of Tripura for 19 years, said that Independence Day is a political event “and as a political worker in the recorded speech I have expressed my political thoughts”.

“The censorship of the Independence Day speech of a chief minister by Prasar Bharati has generated huge reaction and condemnation,” Sarkar said.

On the denials by All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan Kendra (DDK), Agartala, of having censored his speech, the chief minister said that Prasar Bharati was trying to fool the people as “we never said anything about the other coverage of the AIR and DDK, Agartala. Our objection was only against the censorship of my recorded Independence Day speech”.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Lok Sabha Member Sankar Prasad Datta said they would raise the issue during the winter session of Parliament in November.

Opposition Congress legislator Ratan Lal Nath, who is likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and has met party chief Amit Shah and other senior leaders several times, said that Manik Sarkar and his CPI-M party are trying to raise new issues for political mileage with an eye on next year’s assembly elections.

“As the ruling Left Front will lose the assembly elections they are raising non-issues by accusing the autonomous bodies like Prasar Bharati,” Nath told the media.

The state and central leaders of the Congress have strongly criticised Prasar Bharati’s decision, while BJP has supported it.

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