Suresh Chavhanke’s hate filled rhetoric leaves behind a trail of violence

Controversial right-wing TV host, advocates applying 'Gujarat Model' to Haryana

As freedom of expression meets the responsibility to uphold societal harmony, certain individuals have been known to wield their influence with controversial statements that can stoke the fires and violence between communities. One such figure is Suresh Chavhanke who recently gave a call for implementing the “2002 Gujarat model” in Haryana as violence surged in the state against minorities.

Chavhanke, the editor-in-chief of Sudarshan TV News, has been involved in numerous incidents of hate speech. Complaints about his behaviour have been lodged by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) to the National Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA). Chavhanke’s unabashed rhetoric has often been a subject of public and legal scrutiny, with several arguing that his statements tend to veer dangerously close to inciting violence. The allusion to the “Gujarat model” of 2002, an episode marred by communal violence and upheaval with accusations of a deliberate inaction by the state government, raises serious questions about the intentions behind such inflammatory remarks. In fact, Chavhanke has been tweeting seemingly inflammatory content in a similar vein about Haryana since the 31st of July, 2023. He has been tweeting about an alleged conspiracy to ‘eradicate Hindus’ from Mewat, in Haryana. It seems that the lack of regard for legal consequences by individuals like Chavhanke is a grave concern.

Sabrang India made a close observation of Suresh Chavhanke’s hate speeches and found that they reveal a troubling pattern: a considerable number of locations where he delivered his incendiary addresses experienced subsequent communal violence against minority communities.

For instance, since December 2022, Chavhanke has made five hate speeches in Maharashtra Jalgaon (on December 25, 2022), Ahmednagar (on February 6), Pune (on February 15), Aurangabad (on March 19) and Nashik (on March 22). Following these events, Jalgaon saw violence against Muslims from March 28th, 2023 onwards. The controversy of renaming Aurangabad had dogged Maharashtra for a while, and Chavhanke had contributed significantly to the controversy by his programme on Sudarshan TV.

In Purola, Uttarakhand, according to Sabrang India, a Mahapanchayat was not given permission by the administration due to law and order concerns following which Chavhanke had resolved to have the speakers from the cancelled event on his show and hence hold the Mahapanchayat himself.

“If the government did not give place to the banned Mahapanchayat of Uttarkashi, then the panchayat is being held in Sudarshan Studio #BindasBol,” he tweeted, seeking to organise a Mahapanchayat in defiance of High Court orders, according to news reportage by the Wire.

Following these events, violence took place in Uttarakhand in the form of a boycott of Muslims.  Over 20 Muslims families were forced to migrate from the state. Posters began to appear across Purola, asking Muslim traders to leave before a proposed Mahapanchayat – which was later disallowed by the district administration – on June 15.

In the rally on June 6 which saw the presence of Sudarshan News editor-in-chief and notorious hate speech propagator, Suresh Chavhanke. During the rally, he warned against “love jihad” and made a provocative statement, suggesting that Sangamner, Maharashtra could transform into Pakistan. He further urged Muslim girls to marry Hindu men as a means of protection. The Bhagwa Morcha had organised a march in Sangamner, after a reportedly minor traffic issue took place on May 28th 2023.  The march has taken a violent turn as protestors began to allegedly pelt stones, hurled abuses at Muslims, and attacked shops.

According to Newslaundry, this violence was the affected and even a ‘by product’ by the activities of a coalition Hindutva group called Sakal Hindu Samaj on June 6, 2023. Suresh Chavhanke was also a speaker at the event by Sakal Hindu Samaj and spoke about ‘love jihad’, urged Muslim women to marry Hindu men, and also raised conspiracies about Sangamner turning into Pakistan.

On February 6, 2023, an event took place in Nagar, in Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, where Suresh Chavhanke delivered a controversial speech that fuelled anti-Muslim sentiments. In his speech, he urged people to defy the Supreme Court and work and support towards establishing a Hindu nation with him as its leader. Chavhanke furthermore accused the Supreme Court of influencing the Delhi Police’s actions against him. The speech from Nagar starts with Suresh Chavhanke shouting, “What should we go for? Let’s go for a Hindu Rashtra.  We have to bring in a Hindu Rashtra.”

Following this event, on May 15, 2023, communal violence erupted in Maharashtra’s Akola, and later that night, similar communal violence occurred in Ahmednagar district, resulting in at least five individuals being injured. The violence was triggered by a dispute over a procession in Shevgaon village, leading to tense situations and injuries.

It seems probable that Chavhanke’s hate speeches have repeatedly somehow resulted in violence and tension in various regions and raises serious concerns about the impact of hate speech on the social fabric of the country. CJP has lodged multiple complaints against Suresh Chavhanke and Sudarshan News, for their seemingly hate-filled and Islamophobic content in speeches and broadcasts that target the Muslim community.

On February 6, 2023, CJP lodged complaints with the Director General of Police in Maharashtra and the Superintendent of Police in Ahmednagar against Suresh Chavhanke, a notorious hate offender, for delivering a hate-filled and Islamophobic speech. The speech took place at an event held in the Nagar district of Ahmednagar, Maharashtra. During the event, Chavhanke made derogatory, inciteful, and misinformation-spreading statements, specifically targeting the Muslim community.

In connection with a separate incident, CJP filed a complaint with the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) against Sudarshan News, a television news channel. The complaint was related to a communally inflammatory promotional video for a show that alleged ‘UPSC Jihad’ and focused on the presence of minorities in public service. The trailer of this show was broadcast on the channel and shared across various social media profiles. The NBSA responded stating that since Chavhanke was not a member of the NBSA, they would be forwarding the complaint to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Earlier, in September 2022, CJP approached the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) to file another complaint against Suresh Chavhanke. This time, the complaint was regarding a derogatory, Islamophobic, and hate-filled speech that Chavhanke delivered during a rally on September 4 in Badarpur, Haryana. In this highly publicised and deliberate speech, he urged Muslim women to marry Hindu men instead of Muslim men.


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