House moves privilege motion against TV channel, human rights activist

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IMPHAL, July 24: The Manipur Assembly has today decided to move a privilege motion against the private TV channel “Impact TV” for derogatory comments against the State MLAs made by a speaker on the channel’s programme “Manung Hutna.”

Opposition leader Oinam MLA Dr I Ibohalbi of AITC moved a breach of privilege motion against the editor of the TV channel and Human Rights Alert executive director Babloo Loitongbam .

Members cutting across political affiliations were seen supporting the motion today.

The Speaker of the House who also presides over the House admitted the privilege motion.

MLA Dr. Ibohalbi said, at 8pm on July 22, the channel had telecasts its programme “Manunung hutna” wherein the channel’s editor and Babloo Loitongbam were discussing the present agitation of school students demanding ILP implementation.

He said that, during the discussion, Babloo had said, those in the Assembly could have discussed the issue, but since they are useless they are more interested in contract works (“Ibungo-Ibemma Assembly da phamliba sing sina khunnabiba yabani, adubu makhoina mithibong mitumba oeirabanina Thika taudana leire.”)

The language used during the programme was “uncultured and un-parliamentary” and the disparaging statement has hurt the dignity of all the 60 MLAs, Ibohalbi observed.

He continued that, during the programme, the members were charged of being more busy with contract works, more important issues such as transfer of land to outsiders.

He further called for the Speaker to refer the motion to the privilege committee which has the deputy Speaker as the chairman.

Ibohalbi’s motion was supported by Keishamthong MLA L Ibomcha, PHED, Labour and Employment minister I Hemochandra Singh, Wangjing Tentha MLA P Brojen Singh, Khurai MLA Dr Ng Bijoy Singh, Naoriya Pakhanglakpa MLA RK Anand Singh and Andro MLA Th Shyamkumar.

IFCD minister I Hemochandra said the motion is on a serious issue and all members of the House must participate in it.

He said anyone disregarding the ruling of a High Court or the Supreme Court is charged with contempt of court.

There is also a “Lakshman Rekha” while speaking of the members of the House, he said and added that the House is still committed to the issues of the Inner Line Permit and the territorial integrity of the State.

And since the issue is “Breach of Privilege and contempt of the House,” it is imperative that the motion be referred to the privilege committee and take further action.

MLA RK Anand said notwithstanding that Babloo Loitongbam is a human rights activist or a human rights defender, action should be initiated against him according to the rule of the House.

Later, after hearing the observations of the members, the Speaker referred the motion to the privilege committee.

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