New Delhi: Members in Rajya Sabha on Friday condemned the recent attacks on authors and media houses and the killing of veteran communist leader Govind Pansare, contending that right-wing extremists were becoming "very aggressive".
Raising the issue during Zero Hour, D Raja (CPI) alleged that right-wing extremist forces were "launching attacks on the freedom of speech and expression" and cited yesterday's bomb attack on the office of a media house in Tamil Nadu.
"Right wing extremist forces have become very aggressive. They are launching an attack on the freedom of expression. ... This needs to be condemned," he said, adding that historians have also raised concerns over the issue.
Crude bombs were thrown at the Chennai office of a Tamil news channel by a motorcycle-borne gang, days after it was forced to cancel the telecast of a programme allegedly at the instance of Hindutva outfits.
The CPI leader's remarks criticising the Tamil Nadu authorities evoked vociferous protests by AIADMK members, forcing Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien to say that anything found objectionable against the state government would be expunged. He also asked Raja not to cast any aspersions.
"It is a general issue of attack on freedom of expression which can be condemned," Kurien said.
Raja then lauded the action by state government with the arrest of a few persons in the case, much to the delight of AIADMK members who appreciated it with the thumping of desks.
He also referred to the fatal attack on veteran communist leader Govind Pansare in Kolhapur in Maharashtra and criticised the Maharashtra government for inaction in preventing such attacks.
"Earlier, there was an attack on a writer who declared he would not write any further," Raja said, citing the example of Tamil author Perumal Murugan's self-proclaimed "death" following protests against his books. He also cited a similar incident involving Tamil writer Puliyur Murugesan last month over his writings.
In another Zero Hour mention, Husain Dalwai (Cong) raised the issue of repeated attacks on leaders in Maharashtra and the failure of the state government to take preventive steps and sought Home Minister's intervention to book the culprits.
He also raised the attack on a TV-9 reporter in the state, besides attacks on writers.
"All attacks are on the freedom of expression and Maharashtra is not taking any steps...I urge the Home Minister to intervene and punish the accused," he said.