GUWAHATI: Opposition Congress, AIUDF, Raijor Dal and Assam Jatiya Dal on Friday demanded immediate disqualification of Minister Pijush Hazarika from Assembly polls for allegedly threatening two journalists for reporting a controversial election speech of his wife.
An FIR has been registered against Hazarika, who is Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, with Jagiroad police station in Morigaon district on the basis of complaint filed by the concerned journalist Najrul Islam.
The complainant has also been provided a police bodyguard with immediate effect.
In an audio clip telecast by Assamese news channel Pratidin Time, Hazarika was heard talking to journalist Nazrul Islam and, during the conversation, the minister threatened him and another scribe, Tulsi, to drag them out of their homes and "vanish" them.
Addressing a press conference here, All India Congress Committee General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala condemned the threats of Hazarika and said his outburst is a signal of his loss from the Jagiroad constituency.
The AIUDF Organisational General Secretary Aminul Islam slammed the BJP leader and said the power has made him arrogant and disrespectful.
Raijor Dal Advisers Sitanath Lahkar and Ghanashyam Nath said there are enough grounds under relevant sections of the law to disqualify the BJP minister from the ongoing elections.
"We strongly condemn the language and threat to journalists by minister Pijush Hazarika. He behaved like a goon. The Election Commission should immediately disqualify him and that is our demand," Lahkar said.
There are sufficient grounds as per the Section 123 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and Section 171C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to disqualify the minister, he added.
"A journalist worked as per his ethics and Hazarika threatened to make him disappear, drag him and break his legs. What does it mean? Is it not a language of a goon? "Unfortunately, we are seeing that the ECI is not taking actions as required. They need to be more strict," the Raijor Dal Advisers said.
The Assam Jatiya Parishad General Secretary Jagadish Bhuyan too condemned the threat to a journalist and demanded immediate action against the BJP minister.
Hundreds of journalists, advocates, students, intellectuals and other sections of the society came out on roads during the day and protested against Hazarika's threats to the two scribes and demanded immediate arrest of the BJP minister.
The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) have also condemned the action and asked the ECI to disband him from the polls.
The Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora filed a complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer, Assam and demanded to disqualify Hazarika from Assembly polls.
The Gauhati Press Club (GPC) also condemned the "act of intimidation in the strongest words" and said that it is very unbecoming of a public representative to threaten a journalist of dire consequences, no matter what.
Hazarakia said in the phone conversation, which has now gone viral, that he was "sad" because the news was related to his wife Aimee Baruah, who in campaign for her husband a few days ago made a controversial comment on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
At a public meeting a few days ago in Jagiroad constituency of Hazarika, Baruah was seen stating that the people from the Bengali community will be thrown out of the country if the CAA is not implemented.
Hazarika, who is in the fray from Jagiroad constituency where voting is over, could not be reached for his comment on the issue.