Lucknow, Jan 21 IANS | 10 months ago

Back in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow after cutting short a 13-day five-nation "study tour", leader of the 19-member contingent Mohd. Azam Khan Tuesday lashed out at the media for the negative coverage it gave to their trip.

Addressing reporters, the urban development minister alleged a media house had launched a witch hunt against them after the state government refused to cede to their unfair demands.

He said that it was because of this that the study tour of legislators and ministers was linked to Muzaffarnagar.

Khan said India was a member of the Commonwealth and the United Nations and such tours were part of the exchange programmes to study the work culture of other countries.

He also cited previous study tours by legislators in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 and called the charges against the present delegation of going for fun and shopping as false and said that media houses were indulging in use of cheap phrases and words without any basis.

He also accused the media of hounding him on the foreign trip and informed how on one occasion, during a scuffle with mediapersons, he was hurt and even bled from the nose.

The minister also accused political parties of not being tolerant to the rise and success of a "Muslim minister" and said that entire controversy surrounding their trip was unwarranted and unfortunate.

The opposition and the media had tore into the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) for the foreign tour saying it was unethical to go abroad when people were dying of cold in relief camps in riot-hit Muzaffarnagar.

More than 63 people were killed in the September 2013 clashes in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli and several thousand rendered homeless. Azam Khan is the minister in-charge of Muzaffarnagar but did not visit the city once and instead chose to go on a foreign trip.

(Posted on 21-01-2014)

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