A concerned citizen filed an FIR against Sudarshan News Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke on Thursday, August 27, for inciting hatred between religious communities, doing acts prejudicial to national integration as well issuing statements conducive to public mischief.
Chavhanke, the Chairman and Managing Director of the news channel posted a video on Tuesday night, August 25 wherein he talked about ‘Muslim infiltration’ in the highest posts of civil services – a common concept propagated by hate-mongers in the country. He also termed the rising number of Muslims IAS officers as a form of ‘jihad.’
लोकतंत्र के सबसे महत्वपूर्ण स्तंभ कार्यपालिका के सबसे बड़े पदों पर मुस्लिम घुसपैठ का पर्दाफ़ाश.
— Suresh Chavhanke “Sudarshan News” (@SureshChavhanke) August 25, 2020
Chavhanke is now facing charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology Act since his tweet falls squarely in the ‘hate-speech’ category. He is also charged under Section 153(B) of the IPC for making criminal statements that question the credentials every Muslim officer in the Indian Civil Services and damage national integration and foster ill- will.
Even the IPS Association condemned the baseless statement made by Chavhanke.
A news story targeting candidates in civil services on the basis of religion is being promoted by Sudarshan TV.
We condemn the communal and irresponsible piece of journalism.
— IPS Association (@IPS_Association) August 27, 2020
Moreover, he has also received criticism from people on Twitter.
If it wasn’t enough that Muslims were blamed for the Covid-19 outbreak, now they are being blamed for clearing Civil Services exams. This is a direct result of the sustained hate campaign unleashed by the BJP against Muslims. This man has to be arrested! pic.twitter.com/jAwuiL6mfv
— Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) August 27, 2020
According to The New Indian Express, many police and civil services officers, retired and serving, have demanded action against Chavhanke for his brazen claims.
However, many of Chavhanke’s followers have also come to his defense questioning why a reporter should be suspended for raising such questions.
— Shefali Vaidya. (@ShefVaidya) August 27, 2020
Just because @SureshChavhanke resonates the fear in hearts of millions of Indians about induction of radical xlamists funded by zakat in large numbers in UPSC ..Moment he released the first promo on UPSC jihad
Cabal is asking to suspend his handle
But #BharatWithSureshChavhanke pic.twitter.com/oT3TSkDG2Q
— Ritu (सत्यसाधक) #EqualRightsForHindus (@RituRathaur) August 27, 2020
Chavhanke is known to have published such derogatory and venomous comments targeting the religious minorities in the past. He has also been previously arrested by the Lucknow police for inciting communal hatred. He has also broadcasted such claims on his news channel. The tweet in question has already been widely retweeted and shared.
Our Take: While the FIR statement claims that the accused “is seeking to paint Muslims with the brush of communalism and is encouraging hatred and inciting feelings of hate against Muslims” the tweet also has a damaging effect on image of India’s civil servants.
IPS and IAS officers are dedicated to betterment of the country. By questioning the recruitment process of such officers Chavhanke is indirectly naming these officers as terrorists. This is why so many police officers and civil servants have raised objections to the promotional video. It raises doubts about the functioning of the government which could have far-reaching effects in future.
In the first place, communalists are eager to term any activity as ‘jihad’ (terrorism) as long as Muslims are involved in it. However, tainting the image of public servants without any substantial evidence also serves as irresponsible and unethical journalism.
At a time when religious violence is becoming increasingly common, statements like these can severely damage the secular fabric of your country. Chavhanke, in making such claims, not only violates the ethics of journalism but also rejects the fundamental duty of every citizen to “promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.”