With friends in high places, Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke aired his controversial show ‘Bindas Bol’ alleging Muslims were ‘infiltrating’ the central services in great numbers. This is the first of the nine episode series, where he claims to bring ‘proof’ to show that the educated Muslim community was joining the civil services in ‘massive’ numbers. However, the first episode did not have any concrete evidence to back his allegations. Moreover, why is the presence of Muslims in civil services being seen as a problem in the first place? Don’t Muslims have the right to serve the country?
Instead of proof of a ‘conspiracy’, what we got was an almost breathless Chavhanke, buttoned up in a tight saffron coloured vest, seeking blessings from computer generated imagery (CGI) of those he says he reveres. He prayed to a CGI of the god Ganesh and sought blessing for the programme which he says has “the attention of the Prime Minister, the Supreme Courts, and the entire state machinery”. He also invoked a CGI of Dr BR Ambedkar, and addressed him as if he was talking to an idol and sought blessings as he was speaking on matters concerning the Constitution. Another CGI of Chatrapati Shivaji, was invoked. This is where the polite part of the show ended, in the first few minutes.
Soon enough Chavhanke began inviting his viewers, over 36,000 on Youtube at the time of writing this review, apart from reminding his detractors that though many opposed him, the show was being aired. According to Chavhanke neither the courts, nor the complaints filed to police, nor the government was able to stop him. He added that there were ‘demonstrators’ outside his studio doors even that day and to visuals of three-four men, a couple with beards and skull cap, ‘protesting’, as his crew filmed them. That the men held a sheet of paper addressing him as ‘Suresh Chauhan’, in a hurried scribble puts a question mark on the genuineness of this ‘protest’ itself. Was it staged? It was so tiny that it did not really matter. Chahvanke continued his build up to the anti-Muslim narration and the ‘massive expose’ he promised his fans. He said the maximum complaints have been made against his channel. However he is jubilant that no action has been taken against him ever.
He aired clips of politician Akbaruddin Owaisi addressing a gathering where he is seen saying that Muslims should join police and other union services. Chavhanke called Owaisi a ‘Hyderabad ka gaddar’ (traitor from Hyderabad) and a ‘n***k h***m’ (an abusive term for a disloyal person). According to Chavhanke, Owaisi should have invited condemnation from the IPS and other organisations for asking Muslims to join civil services too.
Chavhanke has promised his fans eight more episodes in his series against Muslims and said it was like “a feature film”. The plot moved on expected lines when he quickly invoked the terror organisation ISIS. The shocker was when using a crude graphic he ‘linked’ ISIS to former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, via the Zakhat Foundation and Hamas, and Syed Zafar Mahmood. Bureaucrat Syed Zafar Mahmood, was once an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. And because he is Founder President, Zakat Foundation of India Chavhanke alleged he was a ‘direct/indirect link’ to ISIS and hamas.
He goes on with vile graphics, including “calculations” on a sheet of paper, scrawled in a similar manner to the ones those ‘protesters’ were holding outside his gate. These calculations and graphics were Chavhanke’s ‘proof’ of how Muslim candidates were allegedly getting ‘unfair’ advantages and support to clear the Union Public Service Commission entrance exams. He called for the interviews of the successful UPSC candidates to be banned, as he alleged it was in interviews where even those who scored well do not get through. All hinting at how Muslim candidates were successfull even here. He shows a clip of some mock interview where a ‘candidate’ is told ‘community’ plays a role in the success. No one knows where that clip is from, seems to be of some pre exam coaching class at first glance.
Of course Chavhanke invoked Jawaharlal Nehru, who he said was the “second PM of India”, because Chavhanke only recognises Subhash Chandra Bose as the “first PM of the government in exile”. According to Chavhanke his anti-Muslim aspirant show is asking ‘essential questions’ as bureacurats stay in service for 30-40 years, longer than any PM ever will. Hence the bureaucracy should be questioned, or in Chavhanke’s case, the religions of those wanting to join India’s bureaucratic service should be questioned.
His over an hour long show was aired on Friday night, with a promise of eight more episodes as soon as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Union Government permitted the broadcast. The telecast of the controversial show ‘Bindas Bol’ had been stayed by the High Court earlier. Chavhanke had shared the communal toned promotional clip before the broadcast as well asking, “How has there been a sudden rise in the number of Muslims in IAS and IPS? What is the secret behind scoring high marks in such a difficult exam? If Jihadis of Jamia become your Collectors and Chief Secretaries, what will happen then? The big reveal on the Executive being infiltrated.”
The Delhi High Court, on August 29, had directed the Centre to decide on the complaints received against the proposed show. The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting directed Sudarshan NewsTV to broadcast the programme #BindasBol by ensuring that the programme does not violate any of the programme Codes. In an order issued on Thursday, the Information & Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry said it cannot pre-censor a programme, or stop it from being telecast. The Print had reported the order as stating, “If only, when the programme is telecast and any violation of law is found, action can be taken”. The channel in its written submission had stated before the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that its show was “not violative of the law” and added that if at all the programme was found to be violative, action as per law could be taken.
However, Chavhanke’s offensive against Indian Muslims has already violated the Cable Television Networks Rules at multiple points. Some of those listed in the Programme Code are:
- Offends against good taste or decency
- Contains attack on religions or communities or visuals or words contemptuous of religious groups or which promote communal attitudes
- Contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half truths
- Is likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote-anti-national attitudes;
- Contains anything affecting the integrity of the Nation;
- Criticises, maligns or slanders any individual in person or certain groups, segments of social, public and moral life of the country
- Contains visuals or words which reflect a slandering, ironical and snobbish attitude in the portrayal of certain ethnic, linguistic and regional groups
The entire list can be accessed here:
Chavhanke has delivered what he advertised; a show for his fans, his version of an alleged “conspiracy to infiltrate the civil service by Muslims”. Now it is the responsibility of the I&B Ministry to study the episode aired, and take cognisance of complaints filed by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) in connection with the communally inflammatory promotional video for a show on the presence of minorities in public service.
Chavhanke is known to have published such derogatory and venomous comments targeting the religious minorities in the past as well. He has also been previously arrested by the Lucknow police for inciting communal hatred. Among the many criminal charges him, also include charges of rape, attempt to murder and fraud, as per FIR filed by a former employee of Sudarshan news channel, in 2016.
As stated earlier in the CJP complaint, the show may have already violated the code of ethics and standards on reportage as set out by NBSA, as well as laws under the Indian Penal Code such as promoting enmity, causing disharmony, outraging religious feelings and so on.