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Friday, September 18, 2020

BJP MP asks Shashi Tharoor to cancel IT panel meeting on 4G in J&K

BJP MP and member of Information Technology (IT) parliamentary panel Nishikant Dubey’s letter comes a day after Speaker Om Birla asked the heads of parliamentary panels to conduct the procedures strictly sticking to the rulebook.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | August 26, 2020 4:29:10 pm
On Tuesday, the Speaker has asked all the panel chairpersons not to take matters sub judice in the committee meetings as well as matters related to national security and stick to confidential rules.

BJP MP and member of Information Technology (IT) parliamentary panel Nishikant Dubey on Wednesday wrote to committee’s chairperson and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, urging him to cancel the panel’s upcoming meeting citing that its agenda is in contravention of the rules of the House. The meeting, scheduled on September 1, is on the withdrawal of the 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir.

Dubey’s letter comes a day after Speaker Om Birla asked the heads of parliamentary panels to conduct the procedures strictly sticking to the rulebook. On Tuesday, the Speaker has asked all the panel chairpersons not to take matters sub judice in the committee meetings as well as matters related to national security and stick to confidential rules.

Dubey had earlier written to the Speaker seeking removal of Tharoor from the post of chairman of the IT panel for “flouting”rules.

In his letter to Tharoor on Wednesday, the BJP MP said: “In this connection, I may like to bring to your kind notice that recently, you have convened yet another sitting of the committee on September 1 to discuss the issue of 4G (fourth generation mobile telephony) services in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K),”

Since this issue is presently pending before the Supreme Court (SC)… any further deliberations on this would again be a violation of the relevant rules/directions as well as the recently issued advisory of the Speaker.”

Dubey, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Jharkhand’s Godda constituency, appealed to Tharoor to revoke the sitting of the committee meeting convened for this purpose.

The IT panel’s agenda for September 1 says it will take oral evidence of the representatives of the ministry of communications, home ministry, representatives of Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi on the “suspension of telecom services/internet and its impact”. On September 2 afternoon, the committee is to “hear the views of the representatives of Facebook on the subject of ‘safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space.”

Tharoor’s panel had summoned the Facebook for seeking explanation on a report in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which revealed how the social media company had deliberately turned a blind eye towards hate speeches by a BJP lawmaker from Telangana and did not take them down from its platform fearing that it might hurt the firm’s business interests in India, its biggest market. The BJP MPs led by Dubey had raised objections saying that the chairman had not discussed the matter with the panel members.

In his two-page letter to Tharoor, Dubey wrote he along with some other members of the IT panel have experienced that “the agenda of our meetings are being decided in front of media and camera glare/bite. The subjects which have been selected by our committee, after intensive deliberations, have been unfortunately, put on the back burner and various small issues, which may hit the news headlines for a while and vanish immediately are being taken up by the committee deliberations, which gives an impression that the platform of the Committee on Information Technology is being used for gaining political mileage and raising baseless controversies one after another”. “

In his earlier letter to the Speaker that sought Tharoor’s removal as chairman, Dubey had cited the “flawed mode and terrible disdain towards the established parliamentary institutions being exhibited by Tharoor” as the reason for his demand.

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