NEW DELHI: Under fire for his sexist remarks, Samajwadi Party (SP) member Azam Khan on Monday apologised in Lok Sabha to BJP member Rama Devi who said he has the habit of uttering derogatory words against women.
Khan had to repeat his apology twice in the House.
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 Thursday, to speak and he tendered his apology.
“I have been an MLA nine times, a minister four times, a Rajya Sabha member too. I was a Parliamentary Affairs Minister twice. I know legislative procedures,” he said.
“However, if my words hurt anyone, I hereby apologise,” he 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 and he can vouch for it.
Yadav also referred to the Unnao rape survivor, who had met with an accident on Sunday 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’ when they should chant ‘Jai Sitaram’, eliciting another round of protests from treasury benches.
The Speaker asked Khan to tender the apology again.
Khan repeated the words and also said that Devi was like his sister.
“Whether I tell a thing once or 1,000 times, it remains the same… It is not possible for me to say anything against the Chair,” Khan said.
“If my word hurts hurt anyone, I apologise,” he said.
After the Samajwadi Party member again apologised in the House, a visibly peeved Devi said his remarks had pained the whole country and that she did not come to the House to hear such things.
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.
She also said Khan’s habit has been spoilt beyond repair and that he should improve his habits.
When Yadav tried to speak, Devi asked why he was supporting Khan and said the latter has a voice.
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.
Khan and Yadav were in the House for about 45 minutes.
Source: Press Trust of India