Azam Khan's 'sexist' remark: Women MPs demand apology, Lok Sabha Speaker to meet party leaders

Supporting women MPs, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said either Azam Khan should tender an apology or he should be suspended from the House.

Published: 26th July 2019 01:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2019 08:16 PM   |  A+A-

Nirmala_Sitharaman_Smriti_Irani

Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Smriti Irani. (LS TV screengrabs)

By Online Desk

NEW DELHI: Women members in Lok Sabha on Friday spoke in one voice condemning the sexist remarks by SP member Azam Khan against Bihar MP Rama Devi and demanded that he apologise or else he should be suspended from the House.

Speaker Om Prakash Birla said on Friday, "I will hold a meeting with leaders of all parties and then take a decision."

ALSO READ| MPs like Azam Khan need training: Former Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan

During the Zero Hour, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said the remarks of Khan in Lok Sabha on Thursday during the debate of Triple Talaq Bill were a "blot" on all legislators, including men. "This is a blot on all legislators including men. We cannot remain silent spectators to it. We have to speak in one voice that this is unacceptable," Irani said.

"This is not a House where men come in and 'Kisi aurat ki aankhon mein jhanka jaye (look into the eyes of a woman)," she added, quoting Azam Khan.

“The entire nation watched yesterday what happened. This House passed the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Bill. I appeal to all to speak in one voice- You cannot misbehave with a woman and get away with it by just dramatizing it,” she added.

"This is an abominable act, I appeal to you for exemplary action," said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to Speaker Om Prakash Birla. 

ALSO WATCH: Azam Khan has never respected women, he must apologize: Rama Devi

Sitharaman said, “It is very encouraging to see everyone stand up and speak in once voice condemning what happened yesterday. We look towards you (Speaker) for exemplary action against him.”

"At this time, to again politicize an issue related to women is outrageous, let us all stand together, speak in one voice, which is what I thought was happening here. Why is that hesitation? Why is that dilemma? Why is that doubt?" she added referring to Congress' Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who while speaking on the issue mentioned how BJP leaders targeted UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi calling her "Italian Bahu".

Leaders cut across party lines

BSP supremo Mayawati tweeted: "The indecent language used by Azam Khan, an SP MP from Uttar Pradesh, against a woman presiding officer in Lok Sabha yesterday hurt the dignity and honour of women, and is very condemnable. For this he should not only apologise in Parliament but to all women."

Supporting the women MPs, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said either Khan should tender an apology or he should be suspended from the House.

Trinamool Congress MP Mimi Chakraborty too raised her voice against Azam Khan: “Nobody can stand the Parliament and tell a woman “look into my eyes and talk.” Speaker sir, all women here are expecting something big from you on this.”

Minister Babul Supriyo said that though Azam Khan's remarks were expunged, the TV channels had shown them and the entire country had watched. He also demanded strict action.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi urged the Speaker to take most exemplary action in the matter.

"You are the custodian of the House. Many members have expressed their views. We have to maintain the decorum of the House. Without any ifs and buts and as suggested by Mahtabji, I urge you to take most exemplary action. I appeal to house leave the issue with Speaker," he said.

However, BJP's Nishikant Dubey sought immediate action against Khan citing rules of the proceedings of the House. "Since the ethics committee has not been yet constituted, you can take action," he said.

AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi also sought tough action against Khan, but at the same time, he took a swipe at the treasury benches raking up the issue of former minister M J Akbar, who is facing charges of sexual harassment.

What Azam Khan said

Participating in the debate on the triple talaq bill, Khan on Thursday referred to the intervention of Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and read out a couplet -  "Tu idhar-udhar ki baat na kar " (do not divert from the topic).

At this, Rama Devi, who was presiding over the proceedings, asked Khan not to "look here and there" and address the Chair.

To which, Azam Khan responded by saying ''Aap mujhe itni acchi lagti hain ki mera mann karta hai ki aap ki aankhon mein aankhein dale rahoon'. (I like you so much that I feel like looking into your eyes)"

This infuriated Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Arjun Ram Meghwal who urged the Chair to ask Khan to apologise.

When Khan was asked to do so by Rama Devi, he said he meant no disrespect to her as she was like his "dear sister".

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav rose to defend Khan.

Later, members of SP and BSP walked out of the proceedings.

BJP's Rama Devi then launched a scathing attack on Azam Khan, demanding that he be dismissed from the Lok Sabha as he has “never respected women”.

“He has never respected women, we all know what he had said about Jaya Prada ji. He has no right to stay in Lok Sabha, I will request Speaker to dismiss him. Azam Khan must apologise,” Devi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

(With inputs from PTI)

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