Rahul Gandhi | Photo: Mathrubhumi
New Delhi: As many as 11 Lok Sabha MPs of the Congress have written to Speaker Om Birla against the "unethical conduct" of BJP parliamentarians Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Subrat Pathak and Bhola Singh of sharing a distorted and fake video of Rahul Gandhi that could pose a threat to the country's social fabric and demanded swift intervention.
The Congress MPs, including leader of the party in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, have urged him to refer their complaint to the Ethics Committee of Parliament for examination and necessary action.
They alleged that Rathore, Pathak and Singh had shared a distorted video of Rahul Gandhi, falsely linking his statement on Kerala SFI activists for vandalising his Wayanad office to suggest that he had demonstrated sympathy for the killers of tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur.
The video was run by a TV channel which later withdrew it and tendered apology.
The Congress MPs alleged that the video was distorted in order to "mislead, incite and provoke" the public.
It was clear that the doctored clip was designed to create a dangerously false impression in the minds of the viewers regarding his position on the heinous killing in Udaipur, defame him, and incite anger towards him by creating the impression that he was condoning a violent and horrific crime and foment social tensions in an already sensitive and polarised environment, the Congress MPs said.
They alleged that the BJP lawmakers shared the fake and distorted news on their social media accounts for the sole purpose of spreading disinformation. The doctored clip was widely amplified on social media with a malicious intent to incite physical harm against him, and further vitiate the environment of hatred, the Congress MPs said.
"This highly irresponsible conduct deserves to be condemned unequivocally," the letter said.
"We as MPs and members of Indian National Congress, turn to your good office and the Parliamentary Committee set up expressly to examine any complaint against the unethical conduct of members of the Lok Sabha. In order to deter such egregious conduct in the future, a swift, categorical and effective intervention should be made," the Congres MPs told the Speaker.
They also said parliamentarians are elected to their office with an explicit mandate to uphold the Constitution and to act in the service of the public. Members are expected to maintain high standards of morality, dignity, decency, and values in public life.
"We, thus have a greater duty towards our fellow citizens. For parliamentarians to act in an irresponsible manner, or a manner that threatens our social fabric, amounts to grossly unethical conduct.
"In view of the above-mentioned unethical conduct of the parliamentarians, we request you to exercise your power under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and refer the matter to the Committee on Ethics for urgent examination and action," they noted.
The Congress lawmakers have contended the offence is all the more egregious since the BJP MPs were aware that the video was distorted and presented in an "entirely baseless and false" context.
The signatories to the letter include Chowdhury, Gaurav Gogoi, K Suresh, Manickam Tagore, Ravneet Singh, M K Raghavan, D K Suresh, Santokh Singh Chaudhary, K Jeyakumar, Anto Antony, and S Jothi Mani.