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Does an elected member have an immunity?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on June 28, 2024 with No Comments

Actress Kangana Ranaut, the BJP Member of Parliament from the Mandi parliamentary constituency of Himachal Pradesh, has had a knack for entering into a controversy at the drop of a hat. She is outspoken. However, without conviction and short of facts. These traits of her have landed her in trouble number of times. She has eight criminal cases pending against her. A defamation case by lyricist Javed Akhtar, two more by actor Aditya Pancholi and his wife Zarina Wahab in Mumbai; another by Punjab-based woman farm activist Mahinder Kaur in Bathinda, are among them.  In January 2021, Mahinder Kaur filed her complaint in the Bathinda court, seeking criminal proceedings against Kangana Ranaut for defamation.  Kaur alleged that Kangana compared her, then participating in the farmers’ protests on the Delhi-Haryana borders, with another lady whom Kangana had addressed as a grandmother at protest site Shaheen Bagh against the new citizenship law. Kangana wrote in her post that such protesters were for hire, and are available for Rs 100/-!

Apart from these three cases, there is a copyright infringement case against Ranaut by author Ashish Kaul in Mumbai, and a police complaint in Karnataka seeking an FIR against the actor for her alleged anti-farmer posts on X.

These cases were registered against Kangana when she was nobody in politics. She won the Mandi parliamentary seat and on the very third day of the it, she landed up in another controversy at the Chandigarh Airport as she was about to take a flight to Delhi.  It was alleged that woman constable of the CISF Kulwinder Kaur had slapped Kangana Ranaut, the newly minted Lok Sabha MP from Mandi, at the security-check area inside Chandigarh airport. The video of the incident went viral as divided opinions jammed social media, with supporters of both women pitching in. Kulwinder Kaur claimed that she hit Kangana in response to calling the farm protesting women as available for hire.

Investigations have revealed that Constable Kaur had asked Kangana Renaut to keep her purse and mobile phone in a tray so that these two could be scanned. However, Kangana refused to do it! Now she being a Member of Parliament, the power had gone to her head within two days! And looking at the name tag on the uniform of Kaur, she called her a “Khalistani”, which didn’t go well with Kaur resulting into a slap. Later when Kangana reached Delhi she shared a video on social networking sites Confirming she is “perfectly fine” in a video message, the actor-politician said, “My concern is how to handle the growing extremism and terrorism in Punjab.”

There is a FIR registered against Kulwinder Kaur.  Kaur, according to her seniors, has not faced any inquiry or punishment earlier. She joined the CISF in 2009, and has been posted at Chandigarh airport since 2021. Her husband is posted there as well. The couple has two children. Kaur comes from a family of farmers, and her brother is a farmer leader. The attack on Ranaut, Kaur said, was provoked by Ranaut’s derogatory remarks during the farmer protest against the now-scrapped farm laws. Particularly, Ranaut’s comment that female protestors were paid Rs100 to sit there. Kaur’s mother was one of the women.

Ranaut is rejoicing in her hour of glory. Whereas, Kaur has been suspended, arrested and is facing a police case. In short—it was expensive attack which has cost Kaur a great deal, while Ranaut has walked away after being the chief trouble maker.

Kaur has everything to lose. She has a great deal at stake. Did she or didn’t she slap Ranaut? Nobody can justify or condone the unpardonable attack by a cop in uniform, on government duty. Kaur was definitely out of line and has broken the law.

In Ranaut’s case, she is not being questioned for her conduct. Does being an elected member gives that immunity? Kangana has used certain derogatory words against a community and a state. She has tried to create polarisation of sentiments is not based on just political affiliations—it is more personal.

Ranaut is known to make the most outrageous comments on sensitive issues. She needs to be doubly sensitive towards public opinion and not abuse her position and privileges. If citizens are backing Kaur and expressing concern about her future, it is largely because Ranaut’s conduct has irritated millions.

From one case to another! Indian Association of Lawyers has given a complaint against Kangana to the Police Chief at Mohali stating that the actor turned Member of Parliament  made derogatory remarks against a specific community and tried to break the religious harmony of the state.

 

 

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