Curfew & army leave Siliguri
Siliguri, Sept. 30: Normality returned to the city today as curfew was lifted from all areas a little after noon.
Except for 11 places around the court and the scenes of Fridayâ€™s street battle, the curfew had been lifted in most of the town yesterday.
The army withdrew its forces by evening. However, a company of the BSF is still deployed in the Kutchery Road area, where rumours had sparked off the eight-hour battle.
Some among the Nepalese people, who had brought out a rally to protest against a radio jockeyâ€™s comments against Indian Idol 3 winner Prashant Tamang, were wrongly accused of hooliganism, which led to the fight.
Eight persons have been held for instigating the violence. Three persons, who are in hospital, will be arrested after they are discharged, Siliguri deputy superintendent of police Indra Chakraborty said.
Shops and other business establishments worked as usual today and transport was normal. Educational institutions will reopen on October 3.
is this true???
The promotion of mass culture can be a tricky business. If rousing the peopleâ€™s passions is central to it, devious or insensitive minds can turn it to horribly wrong uses. This seems to have happened in the case of the violence in Siliguri. The radio jockey, who obviously thought he was just entertaining his audience with a joke, had several things wrong. The least problematic of these is the fact that it was such a bad joke. Clearly intended to amuse, and not hurt, the audience, it ended up setting a small town on fire and inciting ethnic passions. More seriously, the episode exposes the dangers of ignoring Indiaâ€™s social and cultural diversity. It is unrealistic to expect entertainers or other communicators to know of the niceties of Gorkha or any other culture. But the least that they can do is not offend the emotions of any community with caricatures. The irony is that entertainment programmes such as Indian Idol are supposed to promote not just mass entertainment but a sort of nationalism as well. The show is supposed to have made Prashant Tamang a hero not only in his native Darjeeling but also in all of India. But the radio channelâ€™s indiscretion proves that, despite pretensions to the contrary, most Indians are too chauvinistic to make sense of cultural pluralism. Also, the violence points to the dangers of public broadcasting falling into callous hands.
The ultimate responsibility for guarding against such provocations lies with the people. The violence in Siliguri may not have turned so bad if the people had taken care to separate rumour from fact. The Gorkha community there had every right and enough reason to protest against the uncivilized remarks made by the radio jockey. The violence had little to with the Gorkhasâ€™ procession and everything to do with the rumours that followed. For a change, the peopleâ€™s representatives acted fast to heal wounded feelings. If peace has returned to Siliguri and Darjeeling, the credit for political will should also go to Subhas Ghisingh, the Gorkha leader of the hills. But all political parties should ponder why an irresponsible remark could spark such violence and mistrust among different communities. The ethnic camaraderie that the leaders claim to have promoted in the area must be rather fragile. The governments in Calcutta and New Delhi must make the channel pay for its folly. But society may have to pay a higher price for its refusal to learn about other people.
Curfew off, Puja shoppers spill onto roads
Siliguri, Sept. 30: Normality returned to this business town after curfew was lifted from the 11 remaining areas a little after noon today.
Except for specific places around the Siliguri court and scenes of the street battle, curfew had been lifted from most parts of the town yesterday.
The army, too, withdrew its forces by evening. Eight persons were arrested for instigating violence.
However, a company of the BSF and police are still deployed in the Kutchery Road area, the scene of the eight-hour battle on Friday between the mob and the law enforcers, sparked by rumours of hooliganism by a rally of protesters.
The rally of 5,000, consisting mostly of Nepalese people, had been brought out to protest against a radio jockeyâ€™s controversial comments against Indian Idol 3 winner Prashant Tamang.
Three persons, who were injured and are in hospital, will be arrested after they are discharged, Siliguri deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Indra Chakraborty said.
Asok Bhattacharya, the Bengal urban development minister, visited all three of them at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital.
While Biswajit Das of Mainaguri, and Acchalal Prasad of Khalpara were shot at by the police bullets, Milan Ghosh of Shaktigarh was hit by a teargas shell.
The decision to lift the curfew completely was taken after an administrative meeting this morning.
Shops and other business establishments functioned normally while transport plied like on any other day. Educational institutions will reopen on October 3.
Traders on Hill Cart Road, Bidhan Road and Siliguri Hawkersâ€™ Corner did brisk business as people went on a pre-Puja shopping spree.
â€œThe last couple of days were bad, but we are happy that people have come out shedding their fear,â€ said Pannalal Agarwal, the president of the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries, North Bengal.
Local means of transport like autorickshaws, rickshaws and intra-city buses plied normally.
â€œThis is the time when our members can earn some extra money because people go out Puja shopping. After Fridayâ€™s incident, we were scared. But it is good to see that things are coming back to normal,â€ said Ajit Saha, president of the North Bengal City Auto Operatorsâ€™ Union.
When reality TV bites
Reality television shows make instant celebrities out of ordinary human beings. No one knows this better than the latest Indian Idol winner, Prashant Tamang and runner-up Amit Paul. While the celebrities are thousands of miles away from their hearths and homes and both have displayed incredible maturity and magnanimity, one in winning the title, the other in losing it, their fans are not quite so forgiving. Reacting to what some impudent radio jockey had to say about Tamang, his fans erupted violently. Tamang himself is on a tour of Nepal. The last sound bites from him came from Kathmandu where he appealed to his fans to maintain calm.
A week before the Indian Idol grand finale, the hysteria in Darjeeling and Shillong had reached blistering heights. So sure were people of their idolâ€™s win that fans in Shillong and Darjeeling were just counting the hours to celebrate. Itâ€™s a different story that Shillong descended into a pall of gloom once John Abraham announced the winner. People were not so much affected by the loss as they were by Sony Televisionâ€™s apparent lack of transparency in the manner in which they conducted the voting. A voting essentially means that both winner and loser know how much they polled. This is in the fitness of things. It would have satisfied the supporters. In the case of the runner-up, his fans would know where they went wrong and what they could have done better. Sonyâ€™s announcement that a total of seven crore votes were polled sounds too glib. No one believes that the process was completely above board. In a voting process that is transparent, both participants must have their agents who will officiate as independent observers. Otherwise how do people get to know the truth behind the voting?
The Civil Society Womenâ€™s Organisation which worked in tandem with the Shillong Arts and Music Lovers Forum have called for a CBI probe into this whole voting system of Sony TV. They have also expressed their resentment at the Meghalaya governmentâ€™s invitation of Sony TV to Amit Paulâ€™s homecoming event.
Price of fame
Last week has been hectic for Amit fans and all those organisations that claimed to have worked round the clock to whip up support for him. Each one wants to be part of the momentous homecoming of the Idol runner-up. But Amit Paul has apparently written to the government that he would prefer that the occasion be government-led and sponsored so that no single organisation takes the credit for doing so.
Amit Paul does have a point. His homecoming on September 3 was a traumatic one. He could not spend more than a couple of minutes at his own home with his loved ones. Somebody, somewhere decided that he faced a security risk and cordoned him off completely from the crowd. Exaggerated claims that Sony TV asked for security bandobast have been floating around but no one knows if there is an iota of truth in that. Amitâ€™s parents and his family members were most distraught at the way in which their sonâ€™s life was being controlled. His sudden rise to fame and the celebrity status he acquired were something they had not bargained for.
But the reality television show has also triggered a host of questions. One question is why a runner up in a show gets absolutely nothing at all considering the channel has raked in millions from SMSs and phone calls nationally and internationally? It was Marutiâ€™s own initiative and their commitment to excellence, which prompted them to give Amit a vehicle. They deserve appreciation for that. But what about Sony TV? Why has the channel treated Amit like a â€œuse by dateâ€ commodity after they have made maximum capital out of the lad? These questions are never asked and therefore they are never answered. As a result reality television shows continue to make money, no questions asked.
While a section of the entertainment media has today become a cut-throat business enterprise, it is imperative that they play by some rules and that those rules are not entirely dictated by them. Viewers who pay to watch the shows are as much entitled to set down some ground rules as the channel is to engage with people.
The spate of reality shows on different channels, many of them purportedly looking for singing talent, have in a sense opened up avenues for small town boys and girls to make it big in life. Unfortunately, talent is often given a miss because of the heavy dependence on public votes. So, the best singers are voted out merely because the towns they come from are either too small to make a big difference through voting, or because the rest of India is not interested in watching the show, leave alone voting. So the big question is whether the channels are really on a talent hunt or a money-making spree. Indiaâ€™s greatest singer, Lata Mangeshkar had expressed her opinion that public voting is not the best way to look for talent. Her opinion is that only people with experience in and an understanding of music can alone judge a good voice. But perhaps Indian Idol is not really about singing as much as it is about performance. And the criteria on which people vote are too wide ranging. Some vote for looks, some for the voice, others because somebody is from their community and still others because they identify with the singerâ€™s professional background.
Those from Assam who have scaled new heights in the singing world, namely, Debojit Saha and Zubeen Garg, have their own take on reality shows and their talent hunt. While Saha feels that public voting is the best way out, and that is understandable considering he won the contest through public votes, Garg who got in through personal grit feels that the public is an unreliable judge because it votes for reasons other than voice quality. Many would agree with Garg especially after watching the manner in which Deepali, Emon, Puja and Parleen were voted out of the Indian Idol contest in the early days. In terms of voice quality they were heads and shoulders above Prashant Tamang. Yet Tamang was consistently voted in because he had a committed vote bank.
In the Northeast, horizons are now opening up for those with a good voice. Believe it or not, Mizoram has its own version called Mizo Idol where the winner takes back with him or her a host of gifts such a refrigerator and other kitchen appliances. When friends in Mizoram were contacted to seek support for Amit, they said that the Mizo Idol show happened at the same time as the Indian Idol one so they had not watched the latter. Subsequently, the Amit pitch reached Mizoram too.
Assam is soon taking off with its own version of a music talent hunt contest. However, it is not depending entirely on votes. The show will have a set of celebrity judges, who are celebrated singers in their own right and whose opinions will matter. Voting will of course have its own weightage. Happening in the hub of Northeast India at Guwahati, this show will hopefully give an opportunity to many aspiring singers to grow into music stars, maybe not in Bollywood but within the film and music industry of the region. It is time to make music a paying proposition. As of today, music is a wasted talent that does not provide a profitable opening except if you make it to Bollywood. Maybe it is time to change the equations. The bottomline, however, is that film music pays and Bollywood pays even better. So for the moment that seems like the proverbial pie in the sky.
(The writer can be contacted at [email protected])
Director Sayeed Mirza's film from late 70s "Albert Pinto ko gussa kyon ata hai" could have been reshot on the streets of Siliguri last week as angry fans of Indian Idol Prashant Tamang did something similar to what Shiv Sena does in Mumbai every now and then. An immature radio jockey from a private FM channel Red FM passed some derogatory comments about Prashant Tamang and his Gorkha origins and irate fans could not stop themselves from coming out on roads and burning vehicles...Curfew had to be imposed and situation was brought under control only after a few days...
One feels it is about time that we take look at some questions...Why does a minor act of the entertainment world whip up emotions of minority classes and specially the young ones to this extent?...Why does the entertainment world -(Bollywood, Radio or Entertainment channels on Television)- keep ridiculing minorities and `non-north Indians' even when representatives of these communities have now risen to claim top positions in the entertainment world itself? Will South Indians (Also Maharashtrians and Gujratis ), Muslims, Gorkhas etc only remain objects/tools for comic relief in our entertainment industry and never be heroes? How much of Punjabi domination of entertainment industry can the world digest?
Hindi movies have carried on the tradition of making fun of South Indians, Bengalis, Parsis and other minorities. Traditionally the comedians have had a south Indian accent or have been from the south. Whether it is Mehmood, Johnny Lever, Asit Sen, Dhumal or several non-north Indian comedians, they too took pride in ridiculing their own accent. The tradition continued in entertainment television...When satellite television came to India, it was channel V and other western channels which carried on with filmy tradition of making fun of south Indian cinema idols etc...The so called "Southern Masala" was portrayed as loud, backward and cheap form of entertainment that only deserves to be made fun of.. Nobody ridiculed about the Punjabi and Bhojpuri film heroes who were maybe as loud and cheap! Now just like South Indians, Parses and Maharashtrians, The Gorkhas have it seems joined the hate list of Punjab-UP dominated entertainment industry!
We have unfortunately grown in this tradition without realizing the huge political incorrectness that we encouraged...And now young -just out of college- `radio jockeys' who maybe don't even understand the seriousness of the impact of broadcast journalism are taking the tradition forward !
Entertainment industry in India as everyone knows has witnessed a huge boom in the last few years...Now with several FM radio channels in metros and smaller cities the need is felt to fill in hours of time with entertainment, music, chat and shows. Top bosses from the corporate world now a days keep talking about how 65 percent of India's population is under the age of 35 and how it must be the young who shall drive every business venture and so we have these 20 something's taking charge of airwaves at prime time ! Even as they live off bollywood , Most know only about Himesh and Salman...maybe they think it is fashionable to talk about `Panchamda' but you try and ask about Sachinda, Mukesh or Khayyam and the ignorance will be exposed...On the day before Mumbai's biggest annual festival Ganesh Chaturthi an RJ of a major radio brand in Mumbai at 11.54PM said.."Just six minutes to go for Ganesh Chaturthi, You are tuned into...." !!! The basic fact that hindu calendar is lunar and the change of date at midnight is a Christian tradition was not known to this jockey...Luckily Shiv Sena was not listening so there were no vehicles burned on Mumbai roads the next day.
If you randomly tune into any FM radio channel in Mumbai today any time of the day it is likely that you will hear a song with Punjabi lyrics...Well, I have nothing against Punjabi, if the beat is `rocking' be it, air it everyday I have no problems but then why don't they play a scintillating Tamil melody by A R Rehman or Ilayaraja ever ? If regional music is to be played on Mumbai FM channels why not a Bengali song once in a while ? Why does it have to be Punjabi all the time ?
Would the Red FM radio jockey have made fun of the winner of this year's Indian Idol contest if the winner was a Chopra, Khanna or Kapoor from UP or Punjab? Surely not. Would he make fun of a winner next year if the winner is a Parsi? Yes maybe...because Parsis don't come out on roads and burn cars! "Albert Pinto ko Gussa Isiliye Atta Hai"!!!
Missing Indian Idol. Miss my hero 'prashant'.
Miss watching a hero in a reality movie.
A lad turns a hero...captures a million of hearts who supports him through all the ups and downs.....and the most dramatic ending but so deserving.
Never enoyed watching such a long movie...yet so real :)
Miss ya prashant.
The hills are alive â€” and fighting. Surprisingly, behind the unrest, there is the sound of music â€” that produced by Prashant Tamang in the show called Indian Idol. Tamang-worship has reached fanatical heights in a land where Subash Ghisingh has forbidden the worship of idols. The joke now doing the rounds in the Darjeeling area is that Tamang is about to give Ghisingh a run for his post. Twenty years after the Gorkhaland agitation, and after much water has flown down the Teesta, comes Tamang â€” literally out of the blue. And the people of the hills, who have treated Ghisingh as nothing short of a demi-god, go berserk in making Tamang the Indian Idol.
What is it about this boy that caused a riot in the hills? He is all but 24 years, a mere police constable and a singer who was a lesser match to his rival, Amit Paul, according to everyone but his blind supporters. Bad roads and landslides had hit essential supplies, but it was the timely availability of mobile recharge vouchers that people were more worried about. The woes of a difficult pahari life were forgotten for the Gorkhali singer.
Tamang had little or nothing to do with Ghisingh. And yet, anonymous posters threatened to oust Ghisingh if Tamang lost. By the time Tamangâ€™s idolization was complete, a loquacious radio jockeyâ€™s sense of humour suddenly went awry and spoilt the party. This time too, the peopleâ€™s ire was directed at Ghisingh â€” openly on Darjeelingâ€™s Chowrasta. â€œGive power to us if you cannot stand up for your peopleâ€: that was the message.
Only those who miss the wood for the trees will dismiss the entire episode â€” from frenzied voting to unprecedented clashes in Siliguri â€” as euphoria or madness. Tamang has emerged as the new mascot of Nepali nationalism â€” a symbol of everything that the hill people have aspired to over the years. He is the promise of deliverance, as Ghisingh used to be until it was clear that he had failed to deliver. This frenzy is born out of a deep-rooted crisis of identity and a sense of being wronged â€” in the hands of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, the state government, the Centre, the police, even Sony TV and the mobile service providers. A lawyer went to the extent of claiming that the sound-engineers had conspired to distort Tamangâ€™s voice.
Thus, when Tamang sang on the Indian Idol stage, he represented the desire of the people not only to break free from the stereotype of chowkidars and durwans, but also to be seen and accepted as â€˜Indiansâ€™. These sentiments would not have been so strong if the hills had had their rightful share of the development pie â€” jobs, education, roads, electricity, water. In the absence of these, Tamang came to stand for the political void â€” the failed leaders and their broken promises.
It is true that the Indian Idol glory is short-lived. For Tamang, however, it will last a little longer than usual â€” for, in his journey to the top, he had been able to bring a scattered community together. His victory thus becomes a show of strength for the Gorkhas, as well as a proof of their determination to bring about change. The people of the hills are no strangers to political agitation. But a show of such strong resentment has not happened in a long time.
The stage is set. All that is needed now are leaders who will be able to make proper use of the collective energy that Tamang has been instrumental in unleashing. His â€˜politicalâ€™ role ends here.
SING FOR THE NATION, WHATEVER THAT IS
A message on the mobile phone can create singing heroes and peopleâ€™s icons. Prashant Tamang is the new Indian Idol, born out of emotions both parochial and patriotic. But does the Indian market have space for so many stars?
Like anyone who lives in a musical land, I enjoy good music, and look forward to hearing new voices. This is possibly the commonest reason that pushed up the TRP on the talent-hunt shows when they first started appearing on television. There may be controversies regarding wheeling-dealing behind the sets, or the disappointed comments about the â€˜publicâ€™sâ€™ poor taste after the results. But the popular programmes on TV do bring forward aspiring young adults from places and groups from which people would have been shy earlier of trying the avenues to stardom or fame, or would have found these inaccessible. The democracy of talent and merit is always exciting.
But this democracy, in shows with appellations like Indian Idol and Voice of India, is allied to national identity. As long as we surrender our grey cells to the dominant political discourse, this association is inevitable. This is where the fun comes in. Since popular voting is decisive, the competitions expose the paradox that lies at the core of the Indiansâ€™ concept of nation. Each contestant is identified not just by name but by the place he or she belongs to. He comes from Tamluk, West Bengal, she comes from Salem, Tamil Nadu. Are the Bengalis doing better than the â€˜South Indiansâ€™? The Gujarati girl from Calcutta might win, not the Bengali boy from Delhi. This could be split up further, and still further, if political correctness did not stand in the way.
But those splits are there, beneath the surface. One of the most touching moments for me, during one show, came when a young man from the largest minority community said, when appealing for votes, something like this: â€œPlease vote for me from the whole of India. I am an Indian. I want to sing for India.â€ That poignant moment, which seemed to encapsulate within it an entire history of a land and its peoples, struck me also as a gloss on the paradoxical components of globalization. As trade and communication make the world smaller, as competitors from unknown corners of the country present their talents on a nationally visible stage, it is the village and its parameters â€” local, regional, religious â€” that must enter into an exchange with the â€˜nationalâ€™, as on a larger and different stage, it must with the global. It is a political position; not even the â€˜universalityâ€™ of art can offer an escape.
However indirect the cause, there is an inevitability in the way that the intense regionalism encouraged by these talent hunts exploded in Siliguri. That was political. But there are more lessons that the shows have to teach us, and they are not musical.
FANS of Nepalese Prashant Tamang were elated when the former policeman became the surprise winner of the Indian Idol singing contest.
But the happiness quickly turned to anger after an allegedly insulting remark made by a radio DJ towards Mr Tamang sparked off a riot in Siliguri, West Bengal, on Friday.
Indian troops were called out to keep the peace after more than 30 people were hurt in clashes between police and fans of the 24-year-old Idol winner, wire agencies reported.
The violence erupted after nearly 2,000 supporters of Mr Tamang marched to lodge a protest over a radio jockey's derogatory comments about the Indian Idol winner.
The marchers were upset DJ Jonathan Brady referred to Mr Tamang as a 'Gurkha', or guard, one of the jobs frequently held by ethnic Nepalese, who live in areas that were once part of Nepal or have migrated to India.
During a live broadcast, Mr Brady said: 'Shopkeepers will now have to make their own security arrangements as Gurkhas have taken to singing.'
Most ethnic Nepalese are economically marginalised.
Although Mr Brady later apologised for the remarks, fans took to the streets to protest anyway.
The Indian media reported that the violence was sparked off when the marchers were passing by the Siliguri Zilla Hospital. The mob was said to have blocked an ambulance that had tried to make its way through the crowd into the hospital.
The marchers then allegedly assaulted everyone inside the ambulance, including the patient it was carrying.
Protesters also threw stones at the ambulance and set a police jeep on fire.
When residents in the area protested the attack on the ambulance, the marchers reportedly became angrier and vandalised shops in the vicinity.
'Nearly 2,000 fans of Tamang marched in a procession and submitted a memorandum to the office of (the) subdivisional officer in Siliguri (town),' state police inspector general Raj Kanojia said.
'The clashes snowballed into violence. Shopowners downed their shutters and the streets were deserted.'
The mob also clashed with police when they arrived on the scene.
Police fired shots in the air after teargas did not work. One person sustained bullet injuries.
Eleven people, including some policemen, were hospitalised.
A curfew in Siliguri was imposed, and hundreds of soldiers and border security troops patrolled the streets as people stayed indoors. As of yesterday, soldiers were still seen patrolling the streets.
Mr Tamang's supporters also called a one-day strike on Saturday in surrounding areas of Siliguri in Darjeeling district, which has a huge ethnic Nepalese population. Shops and businesses closed in response, witnesses said.
Police said Mr Tamang's fans also set fire to the residence of a police official, but the flames were doused before they could cause much damage.
On Friday, Mr Tamang publicly appealed to his fans to end the violence.
'I urge you all to maintain calm, otherwise I may not be able to concentrate on my career,' Mr Tamang said in an appeal on a private TV channel in Bengali and Nepali.
He added that he would take legal action against the DJ for his slur.
The state government has also ordered the radio station, Red FM, to explain itself by this evening.
'The remarks are in violation of the programme code,' the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in a statement, which also branded the station 'racist and insulting'.
Cabinet nod to special status
New Delhi, Oct. 1: The Union cabinet has approved the Sixth Schedule status for Darjeeling hills, less than two years after GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh signed the memorandum of settlement for the creation of a new council under it.
This means that the central government â€” one of the signatories to the agreement, the others being the Bengal government and Ghisingh â€” has given the go-ahead and Gorkha Hill Council (GHC) Darjeeling will be formed. But the powers and benefits under the new status will be conferred to GHC only after Parliament passes the bill in the winter session.
In the process, Articles 244 and 332 and the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution will have to be amended since so long the special status was restricted only to the north-eastern states only.
Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said in Calcutta: â€œIt is a welcome development and we hope the bill will be tabled in the winter session of Parliament.â€ Asked about the demand for a separate state by a section of the GNLF, Bhattacharjee said: â€œLetâ€™s not get into all that.â€
Unlike the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council which was created out of a state act, the GHC will have constitutional guarantee which means more legislative power including tax collection and enactment of laws in areas like higher and adult education, rural development and land and land revenue. The new council will also be able to make appointments to all posts under its control except where recruitment is made on recommendations of the West Bengal Public Service Commission. Law and order will remain with the state government. The GHC jurisdiction will extend over the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong. Sixteen mouzas of the Siliguri subdivision will also be under the GHC.
Bengal urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya said in Siliguri today that it is imperative that elected representatives take charge of the new council, now that the draft proposal for the special status has been approved. The last elections to the DGHC was held in 1999.
â€œIt was a long cherished dream of the hill people and of Subash Ghisingh,â€ information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi said while announcing the Cabinet decision. The announcement comes in the backdrop of the situation in neighbouring Nepal, where the Maoists withdrew from the ruling coalition, and disturbances in Siliguri over alleged derogatory references on Indian Idol 3 winner Prashant Tamang by a radio channel last week.
TDSAT allows I&B ministry to proceed against radio channel
New Dehi, Oct. 2 (PTI): Broadcast tribunal 'TDSAT' on Monday allowed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to go ahead with its scheduled proceedings against an FM radio channel for an allegedly derogatory remark made by a presenter against Indian Idol winner, Prashant Tamang.
"It is ordered that the respondent (I&B Ministry) will be free to proceed with the show-cause notice and take whatever decision it feels proper or necessary in the facts and circumstances of the case," TDSAT chairman Justice, Arun Kumar, said while hearing a plea by the radio channel.
The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal also held that any order or direction passed by the Ministry would not be implemented till October 4, the next date of hearing. The tribunal also issued a notice to the ministry, which was received by its counsel, Vineet Malhotra.
The radio channel had approached the tribunal against a show-cause notice issued by the ministry on September 29.
The ministry issued the notice after a radio jockey made some remarks against the Gurkha community while referring to Tamang who won the Indian Idol contest on a television channel. The ministry had given the channel time till yesterday to give an explanation on the remarks, which it said violated the programme code of All India Radio.
The remarks sparked violence in Darjeeling, Siliguri and Kalimpong last week, prompting authorities to clamp curfew.
During the proceedings, the channel's counsel, Mukul Rohtagi, alleged that in the notice, government acted without giving any opportunity to present its case.
He also contended that in the licence agreement, there was no provision that permitted the government to take action against the channel without a sufficient notice.
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