New Delhi: Under fire from various quarters, Samajwadi Party member Azam Khan on Monday apologised in Lok Sabha for his sexist remarks against BJP member Rama Devi.
Though Azam Khan had to repeat his apology twice in the House, a visibly peeved Devi said the member has the habit of uttering derogatory words against women.
As soon as the House met for the day, Speaker Om Birla asked Khan, who has come under criticism from members across party lines for his sexist remarks against Devi last on Thursday, to speak and he tendered his apology.
“I have been an MLA for nine times, a minister several times, a Rajya Sabha member too. I was a Parliamentary Affairs Minister too. I know legislative procedures,” Khan said. “However, if my words hurt anyone, I hereby apologise,” Khan said.
As some of his words were not audible, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said Khan should repeat the sentence clearly as the House could not comprehend what he actually said. Samajwadi Party President and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who was sitting next to Khan, stood up to say that the Rampur MP had already apologised in the House in proper words and he can vouch for it.
Yadav also referred to the Unnao rape survivor, who had met with an accident yesterday and was hospitalised, and said the House should also talk about it, inviting loud protests from treasury benches. A BJP MLA is an accused in the rape case. Yadav also took a swipe at the BJP wondering why they were only chanting ‘Jai Shriram’ and when they should chant ‘Jai Sitaram’, eliciting another round of protests from treasury benches.
Devi said Khan has the habit of uttering derogatory words against women and had done so on many occasions in the past outside the House. Now he has said them inside the House, she noted. After this, the Speaker asked Khan to tender the apology again.
Khan repeated the words and also said that Devi was like his sister. “If my word hurts hurt anyone, I apologise,” he said. Soon after Azam Khan tendered apology but was not audible.
After the Samajwadi Party member again apologised in the House, Devi said his remarks had pained the whole country and that she did not come to the House to hear such things. When Yadav tried to speak, a visibly peeved Devi asked why he was supporting Khan.
Khan’s remarks against Devi during a discussion on the triple talaq bill on Thursday last were slammed by members as double-meaning, malicious, utterly condemnable and a blot on all legislators. Last Thursday, Devi was officiating when Khan made the objectionable remarks against her sparking an uproar in the House.
The Speaker said members should be careful in uttering words and maintain decorum so that no such incident takes place in the future. “This House belongs to all members. This can be run only with the cooperation of members. The chair belongs to you all too and its dignity should be maintained. We all should be careful in uttering words and ensure that no such incident takes place in the future,” he said.