A little-known right-wing group has filed a legal complaint against veteran journalist, Rajdeep Sardesai, for inviting Nandini Sundar on his India Today show on Monday night.
The complaint was filed by a representative of a Hindu observatory group.
Reacting to the development, Sardesai told the media, “Nandini provides an important perspective into a very complex issue of Maoist conflict in India. She’s an authority on the subject and her book The Burning Forest has extensively dealt with the Maoist conflict in Chhattisgarh. On the show, we also had a minister and a former DG of CRPF. It’s a shame that now think they can decide who we invite on shows!”
Sardesai later tweeted, “Now the RW (right-wing) loonies will decide who to invite on shows! Wow! Hate-mongers ok, scholars not!
26 CRPF soldiers had died in a Maoist attack on Monday. The story had dominated the editorial agenda of every channel. Sardesai too had led his prime time show on India Today with this story. His guests had included Nandini Sundar, Dilip Trivedi and Hansraj Ahir, MoS (Home) in the Narendra Modi government.
Sundar has written several critically-acclaimed books on the Naxal conflict in India. Her publishers also include the prestigious Oxford University Press.
On the show, among other things, Sundar, had said, “The govt doesn’t seem to get it that this is not the way to conduct war against your own people… If govt can have talks with Naga people,why can’t it have dialogue with Maoists.”
The Chhattsgarh Police, which reports to the state’s BJP government, had named Sundar in an FIR last November in connection with the murder of Shamnath Baghel, a tribal villager from the Adivasi-dominated Bastar region. The developed had caused huge uproar with activists slamming the government for curbing the freedom of expression of those who stood for vulnerable and marginalised in India.
Vivek Agnihotri, a filmmaker and a known sypathiser of the right-wing politics in India, tweeted what appeared to be the content of the complaint against the veteran journalist.
In his tweet, Agnihotri, wrote, “Legal complaint filed against @sardesairajdeep for inviting urban naxal, Nandini Sunder. This is how we finish Urban Naxals, one by one.”