Virbhadra threatens to break media cameras; Cong upset

Virbhadra threatens to break media cameras; Cong upset

Shimla/New Delhi, Oct 24 (PTI)

Virbhadra threatens to break media cameras; Cong upset

Himachal Pradesh Congress president Virbhadra Singh has drawn sharp criticism for his threat to break media persons’ cameras at Aani in the state.

Singh, formerly both chief minister and a Union minister, turned furious and threatened to break the cameras of media persons after he was asked about allegations that he had faked income tax records.

"I will break your cameras. Aur koi kaam nahi hai (Don't you have any other work)?” he had said angrily on Tuesday, reacting to the question at Aani in Kullu district. He apologised for his behavior at a press conference later in Shimla, maintaining he did not mean to “offend anyone."

The Press Council of India (PCI) on Wednesday vehemently criticised Singh for his threatening remarks. Council chairman Justice Markandey Katju noted here that ‘certain politicians’ were increasingly becoming intolerant towards the media which was not acceptable in a democracy.

“It is deeply regrettable that certain politicians are, of late, becoming increasingly intolerant towards the media, and are not behaving in a manner which is expected of them in a democracy. The latest instance of such undemocratic behaviour is the alleged statement of a senior politician that he will break the camera of a journalist,” Katju said, referring to Singh.

Singh’s behaviour did not find favour with his party too. "If anyone is hurt, we apologise," party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said when his comments were sought.

Terming Singh’s remarks as ‘unfortunate’ Dikshit maintained that such things could sometimes happen “under mental or physical pressure” in the midst of an election campaign.

The Press Council chief recalled previous instances including a recent one when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused a section of the media of indulging in ‘dadagiri’ (musle-flexing) and spreading negative canards about her government.