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Sudarshan TV show on Jamia incites people to commit genocide: Delhi HC told

The plea also states that the proposed broadcast should be prohibited as it constitutes hate speech

Friday August 28, 2020 6:48 PM, IANS

Jamia vs Sudarshan TV

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday while issuing notice on a petition against Sudarshan TV's upcoming show on Muslims clearing the UPSC examination, also temporarily stayed the broadcast of the show.

A single-judge bench of the high court passed the orders while hearing a petition filed by certain students of the varsity that sought prohibition of the proposed broadcast of a programme titled 'Bindas Bol' on Sudarshan TV news channel on Friday.

"The proposed broadcast seeks to inter alia defame, attack and incite hatred against Jamia Millia Islamia, its alumni and the Muslim community at large," the plea said.

The petition filed through advocate Shadan Farasat states that Sudarshan News Editor-In-Chief Suresh Chavhanke has openly engaged in hate speech and defamation against students of Jamia Millia Islamia and the Muslim community.

It further states that Chavhanke has claimed that the success of Jamia students in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination 2020 represents a conspiracy to infiltrate the civil service by Muslims.

The petition filed by Syed Mujtaba Athar and some other students of Jamia Millia Islamia also sought the court's direction to Sudarshan News and Suresh Chavhanke to take down all the videos of the said broadcast uploaded on the internet by them.

"The proposed broadcast and trailer clearly are clearly intended to incite people to commit genocide," the plea said while adding that media broadcasts often play a key role in perpetuation of genocide by espousing a sustained narrative against particular ethnic and/or religious groups.

"The proposed broadcast, as well as the continued broadcast of the trailer, violates the right to life and personal liberty of the petitioners. It poses a clear and present danger to the petitioners as well as other alumni/students of Jamia Millia Islamia including those students who have qualified for the Civil Services examination 2020 in particular and the Muslim community in general by inciting the non-Muslim population to view them as fifth columnists seeking to infiltrate and capture a vital pillar of Indian democracy, and leaves them open to physical harm, including the possibility of lynching," the plea said.

The plea also states that the proposed broadcast should be prohibited as it constitutes hate speech on account of being a continuation of the hate speech in the trailer uploaded on Twitter on August 25.

It also states that the proposed broadcast along with the trailer violates the programme code set out under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, read with the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994.

Earlier on Thursday, Jamia Millia Islamia wrote to the Education Ministry, informing it about the issue and requesting it to take appropriate action. In its communication, the university said that Sudarshan TV has not only tried to tarnish the image of the university and a particular community but that of the Union Public Service Commission too.

The development came after Sudarshan TV, in a promo anchored by Chavhanke, was seen raising questions on the entry of Muslims into the bureaucracy through the UPSC exam.

Chavhanke also tweeted the promo tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the RSS on August 25, and it has been viewed more than 3.2 million times.

Terming Muslims as "intruders" into the bureaucracy, he also questioned how members of the community are clearing the prestigious civil services exam in large numbers. He referred to students of Jamia's Residential Coaching Academy as "Jihadis of Jamia" and created the hashtag 'UPSCJihad'.

Thirty students who had received training at Jamia's Residential Coaching Academy cleared the UPSC civil services exam of 2019. Almost 50 per cent of them are non-Muslims.

Jamia Millia Islamia's Residential Coaching Academy provides free coaching to civil services aspirants. This facility is exclusively open for candidates belonging to minority, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories. Women candidates are also eligible to avail this opportunity in which Jamia also offers hostel facility.

Jamia Millia Islamia has also recently ranked first in the list of central universities released by the Ministry of Education, beating Jawaharlal Nehru University and Aligarh Muslim University to top the list of 40 central varsities.

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