London: The Samajwadi Party leaders on Thursday continued to defend their study tour to Europe and senior minister Azam Khan even lashed out at the 'adverse' media coverage. He said, "Media is harassing UP MLA delegation on tour. Reports of SP ministers on shopping sprees are false."
Azam Khan, heading a 17-member UP government delegation on a foreign tour, has hit out at a section of the media for terming the study trip as "debauchery". He has released a statment from London berating the media for allegedly harassing the MLAs. He said the way women journalists were accosting them on foreign shores was bringing disrepute to India. He stated that foreign countries were not even allowing them to stand on foot paths; described it as an act of high handedness.
"Use of such disgraceful language is an aspersion on our media," Khan, who is leading the Commonwealth Parliamentary association delegation, said.
He also said, "The manner in which women journalists are chasing the delegation and creating an ugly situation by pushing and asking questions in an undignified manner has stunned the people of countries being visited because there is no question for such behaviour in these countries."
The SP-led Uttar Pradesh government has been under fire for organizing the foreign junket while Muzaffarnagar riot victims continue to suffer. Earlier the party had come in for criticism for holding cultural extravaganza 'Saifai Mahotsav' in party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's native village.
Last year's riots in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining areas had claimed over 60 lives and left thousands homeless, while several persons living in relief camps had died due to the cold.
The minister accused a section of the media of making the victims of Muzaffarnagar riots "an instrument of raising their TRPs" and said competing with their each other in sympathising with them will do more harm than good.
Instead of creating harmony, such conduct of media is encouraging hatred towards politicians, especially the Samajwadi Party government in the state, Khan said.
He expressed deep anguish about "twisting of facts" by certain TV channels, saying, "Some channels have shown photographs of members of the delegation carrying bags gifted by the Chairman of the City Council with books, while telecasting it as if the members were shopping in Amsterdam."
He said the study tour was a significant achievement of the leadership of Uttar Pradesh and a matter of pride for the country.
(With additional information