While being interviewed by BBC Hindi, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya attempted to leave the interview when asked questions about the Haridwar hate speech issue and allegedly ordered the studio to delete footage, a report published by BBC Hindi claims.
The minister also misbehaved with reporter Anant Zanane and pulled at the reporter's Covid mask, accused him of being a foreign 'agent', before ordering the studio delete footage of the interview the BBC report said. The deleted footage was later restored and published in full.
During the interview a series of routine questions was asked about the elections after which the topic shifted to Haridwar and the controversial speeches made at the 'Dharma Sansad' in December and why the BJP nor the Yogi Adityanath government had condemned the incident
"BJP does not need to give certificate. We believe in developing Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. 'Dharmacharyas' have the right to express their views from their own platform. Why do you talk? What statements have been made about other religious leaders. Why don't you talk about them.," Maurya said.
"Why don't you talk about how many people had to migrate from Jammu and Kashmir before 370 was removed? When you raise questions, then the questions should not be of one side only," the agitated minister alleged.
When the reporter continued asking questions about the hate speech issue Maurya ordered him to continue talking about elections and said he had not 'prepared' to answer these questions.
When he was reminded of the example of sedition in cases like the Indo-Pak cricket match, he said before the question ended: "Treason is a different matter, you don't mix sedition with the fundamental rights of the people. India Staying in Pakistan, if someone raises the slogan of Zindabad, it will not be tolerated. He will definitely come under the category of anti-national. Action will be taken against him."
It was following these questions that he attempted to remove the lapel mic installed for the interview and threatened the crew into deleting the footage. The recovered footage of the interview before cameras were turned off has been released by BBC Hindi.
The BBC has officially sent a complaint to the National President of the BJP, the State President of the BJP and the Chief Minister of the state, expressing serious objection to this incident, but no response has been received so far according to a report published on their report.