Sudhir Chaudhary, the controversial anchor from Zee News who is best known for his recent deeply communal show on “Zameen Jihad”, might not end up speaking at an upcoming event in Abu Dhabi. The push to drop his name came from none other than Princess Hend bint Faisal Al Qasim.
In a series of tweets, she urged the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to drop Chaudhary’s name from the list of speakers for its Annual International Seminar that is scheduled to take place on November 25 and 26 at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahar in Abu Dhabi.
@theicai Why are you bringing an intolerant terrorist to the UAE?!
— Hend F Q (@LadyVelvet_HFQ) November 19, 2021
Princess Hend who goes by the Twitter handle @LadyVelvel_HFQ and holds degrees in Architecture and Design Management from international universities, defended her decision to question Chaudhary’s inclusion tweeting, “Isn’t it a scandal when you bring a criminal indicted in his own country to speak in another about keeping your finance books straight when he was caught/filmed for collecting money illegally?” She further said, “When a criminal spews venom onto a society, that invites violence causing the burning of homes, businesses and mosques. A #MuslimHolocaust is started, together with the abuse of other minorities- Dalits/Sikhs as well. Police sit & watch. I will not welcome such hate in the UAE.”
Isn’t it a scandal when you bring a criminal indicted in his own country to speak in another about keeping your finance books straight when he was caught/filmed for collecting money illegally? ?? #KeepTheUAECleanFromBigots
— Hend F Q (@LadyVelvet_HFQ) November 21, 2021
When a criminal spews venom onto a society, that invites violence causing the burning of homes, businesses and mosques. A #MuslimHolocaust is started, together with the abuse of other minorities- Dalits/Sikhs as well. Police sit & watch. I will not welcome such hate in the UAE.
— Hend F Q (@LadyVelvet_HFQ) November 21, 2021
She also tweeted a letter to the Chairman and Managing Committee of the ICAI, purportedly by other local members of the organisation that said Chaudhary “has been accused of manufacturing and spreading fake news, Islamophobia and communal hatred, doctoring tapes etc.” However, SabrangIndia could not authenticate this letter as the portion that was tweeted by Hend did not contain the letterhead or names of the members of ICAI who had supposedly written the letter. Moreover, it appears to be a letter requesting Chaudhary’s aname be dropped, and there is no confirmation available that such a decision has been taken. And though, in the tweet accompanying the letter Hend claims that Chaudhary was dropped from the event, his name and image still appear on the posters of the event.
However, what cannot be denied is that Chaudhary anchored the controversial show on “Zameen Jihad”, where he insinuated that a conspiracy was afoot by Muslims to usurp land owned by Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir. SabrangIndia’s sister organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) have moved the National Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) against the communally inflammatory content of this show, but our complaint could not be accepted due to a minor delay that permitted the statute of limitations to kick in.
Prior to that, during the students’ agitation at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), when Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid emerged as strong student leaders, Chaudhary was one of the senior-most people and decision-makers at Zee News. During a show on February 10, 2016, a video was played showing JNU students allegedly chanting the slogan “Pakistan Zindabad”. However, this video was later proved to be doctored.
In fact, Vishwa Deepak, an output producer had quit the channel following this. In a letter to Zee News at the time, he had said, “How did we establish that Kanhaiya and his associates were chanting slogans when all we heard were voices coming from the darkness. Our biases made us hear Bhartiya Court Zindabad as Pakistan Zindabad.”
He then told Indian Express in an interview later that month, “We heard inaudible slogans from the grainy video. Editors at Zee News felt this sounded like ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and that’s the caption we went with,” adding, “The video was grainy and there was a lot of sloganeering but most of which was not clearly audible. I heard ‘Bhartiya Court Zindabad’.” He then explained how the truth was twisted telling IE, “Then our editors came down to our section and told us it was a big story, it had to go on air and that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ could be heard. So we all agreed because the editors and other colleagues felt it was ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ that was being chanted. We began to produce the show and because the audio was not clear, we added a bubble or blurb with ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ written in it to guide our viewers on what we felt was being chanted.”
But by then the damage had been done. The Delhi Police, on February 11, 2016, filed FIRs against student leaders based on this video footage. A forensic report commissioned by the Delhi government found that three out of the seven videos were doctored. The examination was conducted by Hyderabad-based Truth Labs.
It later emerged that some Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members had allegedly chanted “Pakistan Zindabad” to implicate the JNU student leaders, reported NewsLaundry. Then, in a curious twist, Zee News quickly switched to claiming that the ABVP members were chanting “Bharatiya Court Zindabad” when airing the same video on February 14!
But Zee News vehemently denied this claim of tapes being doctored by it, and Chaudhary went on air to berate the “Afzal Premi Gang” for accusing Zee News of doctoring tapes.
Prior to this, in November 2012, Chaudhary and his colleague Sameer Ahluwalia were arrested on charges of extortion when industrialist Naveen Jindal accused them of trying to extort a whopping Rs 100 crores from him. He was later released on bail and the case was withdrawn in 2018.