Sunday 25 October 2020

Sudarshan News’ right to freedom of expression upheld

Notwithstanding the refusal of the high court to order Sudarshan News to pull down the show 'UPSC Jihad', jihadis pelted stones on its studio

The Delhi High Court today refused to prohibit Sudarshan News from broadcasting its show ‘UPSC Jihad’ under the series “Bindas Bol”. The channel has unearthed a ploy by the Muslim community to push its candidates in the Indian Administrative Service to further an alleged jihadi agenda through the state mechanism.

Justice Naveen Chawla issued a notice to the Centre and Sudarshan News on the petition challenging the approval of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for telecasting the show that exposes the scheme of a Muslim organisation called Zakat Foundation that has links with fugitive Zakir Naik and a terrorist organisation. The petition requested the government to reject the 9 September order that let the show be on air.

Govt had refused to gag Sudarshan News pre-emptively

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had said that there was no system of pre-empting a programme to be broadcast on a television channel. The ministry had asked Sudarshan News, however, to ensure that its shows did not violate the code prescribed for broadcast-worthy programmes.

In the promo of the show by Sudarshan News, it had promised “a big revelation on the conspiracy of infiltration of Muslims in government services”.

Last month, the event came under judicial scrutiny as the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court deliberated upon the case. The apex court had refused to pre-empt Sudarshan News from broadcasting ‘Bindas Bol’ too. However, the high court had, in an interim order, stayed the telecast of the programme.

‘Jihadis pelted stones on channel studio,’ alleges editor

The high court order notwithstanding, a group of Muslims assembled outside the main studio of the media house and attempted to forcefully enter its premises, Sudarshan News alleged. The channel said the miscreants hurled stones at the headquarters of the media house.

The channel posted a video on Twitter, showing the gathering of Muslims out of which one of them identifies himself as a resident of Ghaziabad. The headquarters of Sudarshan News is situated in NOIDA, which is in District Ghaziabad.

Police reportedly reached the spot 20 min after the alleged attack. Editor-in-Chief of Sudarshan News Suresh Chavhanke alleged the Muslims raised jihadi slogans threatening him. Chavhanke tweeted, “सुदर्शन पर हमला करने पहुँचे कट्टरपंथी। स्टूडियो में घुसने से रोकने पर सुरक्षा रक्षकों पर किया हमला। सेक्टर 58 थाने के प्रमुख “नावेद ख़ान” को कई बार निवेदन देने के बावजूद @noidapolice ने यहाँ एक भी पुलिसवाला नहीं लगाया है. ट्विट लिखते समय हंगामा जारी है (Radicals reach Sudarshan News office for an attack. They attack security guards who try to stop their entry into the studio. The SHO of Sector 58 (NOIDA) police station, Naved Khan, has not deployed the force here despite our repeated requests. The attack is on as I tweet).”

However, the video posted above does show a policeman, albeit not enough to control a mob. The channel or its editor has not posted any video of the stone-pelting incident.

Editor-in-Chief of Sirf News Surajit Dasgupta had recently participated in a television debate over the alleged infiltration of the Islamic community, a video of which is as follows:

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