UPA didn’t permit ‘Peace TV’ uplinking in India: Cong

New Delhi : Congress today said the UPA had not permitted controversial preacher Zakir Naik’s ‘Peace TV’ uplinking in India and had recommended action against cable operators illegally downlinking the channel against the law.

Former I&B Minister Manish Tewari hit out at the NDA government for not initiating action against Peace TV if it was being beamed across the country for the last two years.

“Was the NDA government sleeping if Peace TV is being aired for last two years in the country. It should have acted and got an FIR registered against it and summoned Zakir Naik back to India,” he said.

Tewari said Peace TV had applied for up linking permission in September 2008 and the permission was refused by UPA Government. They again re-applied for permission in February 2009 and it was turned down again.

“When I was the I&B Minister, there were reports that certain channels are being illegally down linked in India by certain cable operators. There were about 26 channels most of them Pakistan based channels, but one of them was the UAE based Peace TV.

“At that point in time, in terms of the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act of 1995, we wrote to the concerned District Magistrates that all those cable operators who are illegally down linking these channels need to be proscribed,” Tewari said.

He said the UPA asked for action to be taken against those cable operators who were violating the Act which does not permit channels that don’t have down linking permission for being shown in India.

“If anybody is trying to suggest the UPA Government didn’t take action against Peace TV, is possibly living in Cuckoos’ land,” the ex-minister said.

Asked to comment on Naik’s charges that he was refused permission due to his religion, Tewari said, “Please put that question to my predecessors in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry since the permission was refused before I became minister.”

The Congress leader also attacked the government on the issue of black money and said it has adopted double-standards on the issue.

“In so far as the Amnesty Scheme is concerned, if I remember correctly, the Congress had used the expression ‘Fair and Lovely’,” he said.

Tewari added that BJP had promised to bring all black money from abroad back in 100 days and now they are doing everything possible in order to legalize and legitimize what they had been dubbing as illegal.

“This fairly and completely exposes the double standards of this government, the double-speak of this Government, there is one yardstick when you are in the opposition and a completely different policy when you are in Government,” he said.