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Himachal Haj Committee chairman removed

Friday 29 December 2006

Staff Correspondent

Echo in Assembly, agitated scribes walk out

He was caught taking money for sending pilgrims to Haj in a sting operation Government examining if any criminal case could be registered against him

DHARAMSALA: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said on Thursday that his government had removed the Chairman of Himachal Pradesh Haj Committee, Maulana Mumtaz Ahmad Kazmi, and a member Nazakat Ali, who were caught taking money for sending pilgrims to Haj in a sting operation by a television channel in Delhi.

While talking to media persons outside the Vidhan Sabha, the Chief Minister said the two had been removed from the Waqf Board also and they ceased to be member of any other official committee.

He said the government was examining if any criminal case could be registered against them as the sting operation had been conducted outside the State jurisdiction.

Mr. Singh also made a reference in this regard in the Vidhan Sabha in the post lunch session.

Chaos in Assembly

Earlier, chaos prevailed in the Assembly when Speaker Gangu Ram Musafir did not allow the former Chief Minister and BJP group leader, Prem Kumar Dhumal, to raise the issue of the sting operation and some letters purported to have been written by the suspended controversial ADGP to the Chief Minister.

Private members’ day

The permission was refused by the Speaker on the pretext that it was a private members’ day and no other issue could be raised in the House.

His contention was supported by the Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh, who also maintained that as per rules and conventions of the House, no other business could be taken up on the private members day.


The agitated Opposition started shouting slogans and nothing could be heard in the din.

There were counter slogans from the treasury benches and all requests of the Speaker, who tried to restore order, were ignored.

While addressing a press conference outside the House, Mr. Dhumal said the Chief Minister was avoiding the discussions on the Haj Committee leader who is a Congress activist and the police officer who was caught by the CBI in corruption cases.

`Expunge remarks’

He also cautioned the Chief Minster against undermining the importance of the press and asked him to expunge the remarks he made against the press from the Vidhan Sabha proceedings.

The government should have held a briefing before accusing the media of any breach in reporting. In a new Vidhan Sabha complex such errors were expected from a new band of journalists, he maintained.

Charges against media

Many agitated media persons staged a walkout after they were accused of "irresponsible and one sided reporting." They also met the Speaker in his chamber later.

See online : The Hindu

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