Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has written to the News Broadcasting Digital & Standards Authority (NBDSA) raising concerns over a show aired on Aaj Tak on April 6 hosted by Sudhir Chaudhary. On his show ‘Black and white’ Chaudhary goes on a monologue discussing current affairs and in one such show, he was speaking about illegal mazaars being found on government land in Uttarakhand, especially forest land for which the producers of the show also carried out a ‘ground report’. However, CJP pointed out in its complaint that the host and the channel missed the bus on getting their facts right while stigmatizing the Muslim community by labelling them and referring to them in a denigrating manner.
Chaudhary also made claims that when these mazaars were demolished with bulldozers and inspected, it was found that the graves did not have any human remains in them. This means that there is a grave but there are no human remains. However, no official source has been cited for the same.
He also points towards the growth in Muslim population in Uttarakhand comparing 2001 figures to 2023 (estimated figures). He skips to mention that these were estimated figures in a bid to depict falsely the large delta in population. Further, he encouraged all viewers to tweet using the term #MazaarJihad which encouraged many users to tweet hateful comments about the same.
“Any journalist following the principles laid down by the NBDSA and abiding by principles guided by journalistic ethics would have just presented the news factually and dispassionately, that a state government report has claimed that illegal mazaars were “found in Uttarakhand”. Instead, Sudhir Chaudhary, who’s past record shows, and who is one of the main propagators of such a Stigma filled, Anti-Muslim narrative in the commercial electronic media, this time goes several stages further and, in fact virtually exhorts his viewers to “look around for such Mazaars and report them to the police,” the complaint states.
CJP has also written that the claims made by Chaudhary have been debunked by an official report by the forest department which stated that there are more illegal temples in forest areas than illegal mazaars which takes away completely the basis on which the show was aired.
The entire complaint may be read here: