Sudarshan TV is known for its anti-Muslim tenor for a very long time. A look at any program on the television channel will be sufficient for you to reach precisely the same conclusion. It is not among the top TV channels and so not many people really talk about it unlike Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV that seems to perpetually make highlights for one reason or the other.
However, on 26th August, Suresh Chavhanke, the chief editor of Sudarshan TV was all over the media from print to electronic and online too, following a tweet along with a trailer of his upcoming show, which he claimed was an “expose” on the “infiltration of Muslims” in the Civil Services accompanied with the hashtag ‘UPSC Jihad’. In a video that he released along with the tweet Suresh Chavhanke called those passing out of Jamia’s Residential Coaching Academy (RCA) and clearing the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) as “Jamia ke Jihadi”.
Grinning from ear to ear, he was telling his audience and anyone who was ready to listen to him that he was coming up with a big expose about ‘infiltration’ of Muslims in the Civil Services. He said that the number of the Muslims entering the civil services had ballooned to an all time high and that it was through a malevolent planning. Just to add here the fact that he is very well connected. He not only tagged Prime Minister Modi, in his said tweet, he has also tweeted his picture with Modi and other union ministers on many occasions.
Meanwhile the video and the attached tweet have come in for strong condemnation from different sections of the society including Jamia Teachers Association, (JTA), IPS officers Association and also from an association of IAS officials. Jamia Teachers' Association, in a press release said that it “requests the University administration to file criminal defamation suit against anti Indian and anti-JMI remarks by traitor Suresh Chavhanke, CMD and Chief Editor of Sudarshan News TV”.
JTA press release went on to add, “A tweet and a video message have been posted on August 25, 2020 through a twitter handle by Suresh Chavhanke. The tweet and the language in the video is antinational accusing the selection process by UPSC in highly objectionable words. It also targets recruitment of Muslims in the Indian Administrative Services and labels them with the word 'Jihadi' and dares how any Muslim can become an Indian Administrative officer. Dragging Jamia's Residential Coaching Academy into bad light, Suresh Chavhanke called Indian officers selected from Jamia as "Jamia ke Jihadi". A number of derogatory words have been used by the said CMD of Sudarshan News which openly instigates, spewing venom against fellow citizens, and trying to divide the people of India...JTA condemns the said tweet and promotional video in the strongest possible words. JTA requests JMI administration to process the matter for FIR under various sections of IPC and UAPA and initiate proceedings for criminal defamation cases”.
In the meantime Jamia PRO Ahmed Azeem said that the Central University that has recently been ranked as the best Central University in the country, ahead of even JNU, has approached higher authorities regarding the slandering by Sudarshan TV. “We have written to the Education Ministry informing them about the whole episode and requested them to take appropriate action. We told them that Sudarshan channel has not only tried to tarnish the image of JMI and a particular community but the image of UPSC also,” Azeem said.
While the media trial of Muslims is not new in our country and they are put to some tests or the other on a daily basis, what is happening in the media is bewildering and unbelievable. For the last few months we have seen how the Muslim community in the country has been held responsible for the spread of Novel Coronavirus in the garb of attack on Tablighi Jamaat. Many state governments hounded Tablighi Jamaat, even to the extent of keeping a large number of its members incarcerated without having any case against them. Many of the foreign delegates of the TG are still under arrest. It was hearsay and innuendo driving action against the Tablighi Jamaat that has been a consistently most apolitical outfit in the country.
The malevolent propaganda forced the Bombay High Court to take notice and pass strictures against the people who build the entire narrative. “A political government tries to find a scapegoat when there is a pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is a probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them a scapegoat,” the court said, in its order on three separate petitions by the 29 foreigners, charged with violating their visa terms and Epidemic Act guidelines. The court went on to add, “The material discussed shows that no such nuisance was created by the foreigners or Indian Muslims and only an attempt was made by others to create such (an) atmosphere against them”. It also attacked the “big”, “unwarranted” “media propaganda” and went on to add that “An attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading Covid-19 virus in India.”
It is rather very surprising to see the vile attack on Muslims clearing the Civil Services Exams. This year only 41 Muslim candidates cleared the civil services out of 829 candidates who have been recommended for appointment as Indian Administrative Service (IAS); Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Police Servce (IPS), and Central Services Group (A) and Group (B) posts. Very surprising is the attack at Jamia’s Residential Coaching Academy (RCA) that has become one of the more successful coaching centers sending good number of students to the UPSC. This year 30 students from Jamia’s RAC cleared the civil services exam. Out of 30 only 16 are Muslims, rest are Hindus.
Jamia Vice Chancellor seemed very hurt by the anti-Jamia tone of the wild allegations. “As far as our students are concerned, 30 students from RCA were selected this time out of which 16 are Muslims and 14 are Hindus. Since they were all called jihadis, it means 16 were Muslim jihadis and 14 others were Hindu jihadis. India has been given a new secular definition of jihadis.”
This is for the first time in decades that the ratio of Muslims who qualified for the civil services saw a marginal rise. Going by their population of 15 percent in India, they should ideally have at least 15 percent representation at all levels. However, for decades, the community is not just under represented at all level of governance, its ratio is going down markedly. Sachar Committee Report had discovered that Muslims made only 3% in the IAS, 1.8% in the IFS and 4% in the IPS. It was also under represented in all other sectors too. They had a representation of only 4.5% in Indian Railways, 6% in police force (constables), 4.4% in health and merely 6.5 percent in transport.
Muslims representation in private job market is also markedly low. Amitabh Kundu who had had steered the Post-Sachar Evaluation Committee, generally called the Kundu Committee, had examined the socio-economic condition of the Muslims in India. He says that “Muslims are the most deprived in the jobs market; their condition is worse than even the scheduled tribes (STs) in urban areas. Even the affirmative action (AA) framework that the nation talked about a few years ago, which the private sector was prompted to adopt and implement in the last decade, is largely focused on the Dalits, leaving the Muslims entirely to their own devices. The bias is widespread and runs deep.
More Columns by Syed Ubaidur Rahman:
Despite muted denials, NRC will target Muslims
Bhagwat, Madani meet: End of the maddening divide
Ahmadullah Shah: Hero whose head and body are buried
Muslim women's entry in mosques: What is the truth?
Syed is a New Delhi based author and commentator. His forthcoming book 'Ulema's Role in India's Freedom Movements with Focus on Reshmi Rumal Tehrik will be out in October