SP leader Azam Khan, who was banned by the Election Commission from addressing public meetings over his controversial remarks on Kargil war, today defended himself saying he had not said anything other than facts.
"Expressing oneself is within the framework of law and it is my right to speak the right thing. I have only talked about sacrifices. Whatever injustice happened, I have only spoken about that. I have not said anything other than facts. I have not threatened anyone. It is not my nature to threaten anybody," Khan told reporters replying to queries on the EC order.
Earlier in the day, the Election Commission banned him from holding public meetings, processions or roadshows in Uttar Pradesh and asked authorities to initiate criminal proceedings against him. The strong action comes after Khan dragged the Kargil conflict into the ongoing Lok Sabha campaign, saying it was "Muslim soldiers" who fought for India's victory in the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan.
His remarks stoked an outrage and political rivals pressed the EC to take action against him.
When asked about the ban, Khan refused to comment, saying, "I have not seen the EC order. So without seeing the order, I cannot comment on it."
Describing Azam Khan as a secular leader, Samajwadi Party appealed to the Commission to reconsider imposing the ban. The EC also banned BJP leader Amit Shah in a similar manner over his "revenge" remarks.
Campaigning in Shamli, Shah, BJP PM nominee Narendra Modi's aide, had recently said that the 2014 elections was the opportunity to take revenge for insult during Muzaffarnagar communal riots. His comments evoked sharp reaction from various political parties.