Citizens for Justice and Peace has in a complaint to Times Now, raised concerns over the contents of the debate show titled “Rashtravad: मदरसों पर नकेल, नहीं चलेगा विदेशी फंडिंग का खेल?” This show aired on May 22 on Times Now Navbharat and is based on a survey carried out by the UP government on Madrassas in the state and last year’s data which allegedly found that 8,841 madrassas were illegal and that the Government shall proceed against 4,000 madarssas in the state.
Debate shows on mainstream news channels are, more often than not, polarised and discuss issues that drive the communal narrative. The same was the case for this show where the debate was on a survey by UP government and the speakers, who were not directly connected with the issue were being asked to give their opinion on it. The host, Pandey, asked one of the speakers from the Muslim community why did some madrassas not have proper documents for the international funding they received. However, the speaker, unaware of the ground reality wasn’t able to add much value to the debate and it was evident that the debate was being carried out merely for the same of discussing an issue on communal lines.
The debate started with statements like, “UP me videshi funding wale madarsson par kya taala lagne wala hai?”; Madarsson par Yogi ka action to Maulana ko tension kyu ho rahi hai?”; Videshi funding par action, to kaum ko badnaam karne wali baat kyun aagai? Kya ye na maane ki ye bhadkane wali baat hai?”; “Avaidh madarsson par ghamasan, Bajrang Dal par bhaijaan kyun bhadak gaye, Kyun Maulvi sahab ko dikkat hogai?” [Will the madrassa receiving international funding in UP be locked down?; If yogi is acting on madrassas why are maulanas worried? Action against International funding, where is the question of insulting the religion? Is this inciteful? Attack on illegal madrassas, why are Muslims angry at Bajrang Dal? Why are Maulvis hassled?]
It was also evident how the host was interrupting those speaking favourably towards the Muslim community. At one point, a speaker called Haji Rangrez even said that if madrassas are found to not have the required documents for the international funding or are found to be illegal then the government must take action as per law. However, the host moved on from this statement and did not give it any weightage, merely to keep the pot boiling.
Vinod Bansal (of VHP) and one of the participants in the debate also said that the madrassas have mushroomed in the border areas of the country and the children are being pushed towards ‘jihad’ and terrorism. When asked to substantiate this claim, the host and the participant both ignored it.
The following tickers were being run throughout the show:
- Madarsson par Yogi ka action, Maulana ko tension? [If Yogi is taking action against madrassas why is Maulana worried?]
- Avaidh Madarson par Yogi ka Hunter, kise darr? [Yogi taking action against illegal madrasas, who is scared?]
- Bajrang Dal par kyun bhadke Madni Bhaijaan? [Why are muslims angered at Bajrang Dal?]
- Ab nahi chalega Videshi funding ka khel? [Now international funding will not be allowed?]
- Aatank ko paala, to madarsson par lagega taala? [If terrorism is being taught, the madrassas will be shut down?]
It is important that a host of a debate remains unbiased, neutral but in this show, the moderator clearly favoured the people supporting the ideologically aligned participant and let them make baseless claims on the show.
The complaint states, “the host is seen questioning someone from the Muslim community about the illegality of these madrassas. The question being, does he run any of these madrassas? How is he capable of answering these questions about illegal madrassas? The whole point of the debate thus becomes moot. Yet, the debate continues among people who are not concerned directly with the subject being discussed. Thus, leading to a polarised debate.”
CJP has complained against Times Now Navbharat in November last year which was also based on madrassas survey of UP whereby, the term ‘madrassa jihad” was used by the host Naina Yadav. On Monday, CJP filed two other complaints against the channel. One was against the using the term ‘mazaar jihad’ for a show based on alleged illegal mazaars in Uttarakhand and the other was against a debate show in which a statement made by one Hasan Madni was being discussed where he said that whoever talks about a Hindu nation is a traitor.
The complaint may be read here: