BJP asks Shashi Tharoor to cancel IT panel meeting on 4G in J&K

On Wednesday, BJP MP and member of IT panel Nishikant Dubey wrote to committee’s chairperson and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, pushing him to cancel the upcoming meeting. The conference is scheduled on September 1, regarding the withdrawal of the 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir.

Only a couple of days ago, Speaker Om Birla asked the parliamentary panels’ leaders to conduct all procedures while strictly adhering to the rule book. On Tuesday, the Speaker asked all the panel chairpersons to not take up sub judice matters in the committee meetings.

Following this, Dubey also issued a letter to the Speaker requesting Tharoor’s removal from the post of chairman as a consequence of breaking major rules.Through a letter addressed to Tharoor on Wednesday, the BJP MP wote:

 “In this connection, I may like to bring to your kind notice that recently, you have convened yet another sitting of the committee on September 1 to discuss the issue of 4G services in Jammu & Kashmir. Since this issue is pending before the Supreme Court, any further deliberations on this would again violate the relevant rules/directions and the recently issued advisory of the Speaker.”

Dubey, the Lok Sabha MP from Jharkhand’s Godda constituency, urged Tharoor to revoke the committee meeting convened for this purpose.

The IT panel’s schedule for September 1 says it will take oral testimonies from the ministry of communications representatives, home ministry, representatives of Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi on the “suspension of telecom services/internet and its impact.” 

On the afternoon of September 2, the committee will be “hearing the views of the representatives of Facebook” on the subject of ‘safeguarding’ citizens rights. The committee will also take up subjects like the misuse of social/online news media platforms, including measures to improve women’s security in the digital space.

Tharoor’s panel had requested Facebook to seek an explanation on a report in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which revealed how the social media company had intentionally turned a blind eye towards hate speeches by BJP. The BJP MPs led by Dubey had criticized Tharoor, saying that the chairman had not discussed the matter with the panel members.

In his two-page letter addressed to Tharoor, Dubey wrote :

“The agenda of our meetings is being decided in front of media and camera glare/bite. The subjects which have been selected by our committee, after intensive deliberations, have been, unfortunately, put on the back burner. The committee discussions take up various small issues, which hit the news headlines for a while but vanish quickly. This gives the impression that the Committee on Information Technology’s platform is being used for gaining political mileage. As a result, baseless disputes break out one after another.”

In an earlier letter to the Speaker that sought Tharoor’s removal as chairman, Dubey said that the “flawed mode and terrible disdain towards the established parliamentary institutions being exhibited by Tharoor” as the reason for his demand.