M A I N   N E W S

Centre to seek report from TN Governor
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 10
The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, today said the Centre would seek a report from the Tamil Nadu Governor on the issue of arrest warrants issued by the state Assembly for breach of privileges against six journalists.

A PMO spokesperson said this assurance was given by Mr Vajpayee, when a delegation of Opposition MPs and MLAs of Tamil Nadu called on him today evening.

The delegation also met the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, during the day to apprise him of the changed political situation in the state following the orders of the privileges committee.

The delegation urged the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister to take immediate steps to stop the “dictatorship” and “abuse” of power by the Jayalalithaa government.

Stating that he felt sad about any development that affected the freedom of the Press, Mr Advani said that he would not like to comment as freely as on a decision taken by the executive.

Although the delegation welcomed the relief provided by the Supreme Court, they in a memorandum said “The actions of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly pose a direct challenge to the freedom of the Press and the functioning of the democratic institutions in the country.”

The Assembly Speaker had ‘flouted’ all known rules and laid down procedures while getting the resolution of sentence passed in the legislature, they added.

They said the entire drama was staged with a ‘sinister’ design to ensure that the journalists were held in prison at least for the weekend. It was a serious violation of all principles and natural justice.

The delegation listing various instances of misuse of power by the state government, including arrest of MDMK leader Vaiko under POTA, pleaded for the intervention of the Prime Minister.

The delegation included MPs and MLAs from DMK, Congress, PMK, CPI, MDKM, DPI, CDF and MGR Kazhagam.

Earlier, slogan-shouting journalists today marched to the Tamil Nadu House to protest against the state Assembly’s action against senior journalists of ‘The Hindu’ and ‘Murasoli’.

The protesters, numbering more than 100, submitted a memorandum to the Tamil Nadu Governor through the state Resident Commissioner here demanding withdrawal of the Assembly’s order to jail the journalists for 15 days for breach of privilege.

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