Suresh Chavhanke: RSS-BJP Backed Anti-Muslim Propaganda Machine

Chavhanke's connections to the BJP and Sangh Parivar are well documented and he has received support from major BJP leaders. The UP Government under Yogi Adityanath sponsors the channel, hence spending taxpayer’s money to spread communal hatred.

suresh chavhanke sudarshan news
Courtesy: Janta Ka Reporter

#Beware
Muslim infiltration of the biggest positions in the the most important pillar of democracy, the Executive, exposed.

#UPSC_Jihad
#Bureacracy_Jihad

This series that will leave the country shaken will be regularly broadcasted everyday at 8 pm, starting from Friday, August 28, only on Sudarshan News

This was the tweet made by Suresh Chavhanke, editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News on August 25, that brought back attention to the communal news channel that has been spreading religious hatred and fake news for years. In the tweet, he tagged the Prime Minister, as well as the twitter account of the RSS.

Chavhanke, who joined the RSS when he was only 3 years old, reported for the pro-RSS daily Tarun Bharat, before becoming a journalist, and founding Sudarshan News in 2005 with the slogan ‘desh (ko) number ek banana”. Chavhanke was arrested in April 2017 by the Uttar Pradesh police on charges of inciting communal hatred between two communities, hurting religious sentiments and spreading rumours. Residents of Uttar Pradesh had filed a complaint against his show Bindass Bol. He was booked under various IPC sections and section 16 of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1955. He continued his channel after being released on bail.

His connections to the BJP and Sangh Parivar are well documented and he has received support from major BJP leaders. He was invited for PM Narendra Modi’s swearing-in, he has been spotted with BJP leaders often, and he has attended a party for select journalists hosted by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar. In fact, the UP Government under Yogi Adityanath sponsors the channel, hence spending taxpayer’s money to spread communal hatred.

An extensive report by Meghnad S on Newslaundry shows how in recent times, the channel has spread fake news about MP Asaduddin Owaisi and blamed Muslims for the murder of Hindutva leader Kamlesh Tiwari. The channel has given airtime to callers inciting violence and hatred against Muslims as well. In 2019, Chavhanke was fined Rs. 50 lakh by a Kozhikode court after he was found guilty of spreading fake news against Malabar Gold, a diamond company run by M.P. Ahammed.

The most recent trailer tweeted by Suresh Chavhanke used abusive language against Muslims, and demonised them for being selected to the civil services. In the video, he called those passing out of Jamia’s Residential Coaching Academy (RCA) and clearing the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) as “Jamia ke Jihadi”.

Not only is Jamia Millia Islamia one of the foremost central universities of the country, but such language is also especially disturbing in the aftermath of the immense violence that took place against students of Jamia only a few months ago. The University wrote to the Union Education Ministry asking them to take action against Sudarshan News channel and its editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke for tarnishing the image of the university, and the Jamia Teachers’ Association demanded that a criminal defamation suit be filed by the administration against Chavhanke.

Suresh Chavhanke and Sudarshan News were condemned by the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, and the Indian Police Foundation (IPF). Several IAS and IPS officers also demanded action against Chavhanke, and a petition signed by over 1,700 citizens, including prominent journalists, film directors, lawyers, and civil society members, wrote to seven chief ministers, demanding that an FIR be registered against him for spreading hate speech.

A Supreme Court bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and K M Joseph refused to impose a pre-broadcast ban on the show. However, the Delhi High Court issued a stay order on the airing of the programme, after advocate Shadan Farasat, representing students from Jamia who had filed a petition against the show, argued that the trailer that had been released already showed that the programme would be in complete violation of the Programme Code.

Chavhanke, however, announced that he would go ahead with the broadcast of the show.

Later, after beginning the broadcast, he had to stop in between after saying that he received the High Court order. The High Court will be hearing the matter on September 7, and the Supreme Court has fixed the next date of hearing on September 15.

Chavhanke has maintained that he intends to investigate a recent “spike” in the number of Muslims in the civil services. Going by official data cited by N.C. Asthana, the percentage of Muslims amongst the selected candidates in the UPSC exams has been 5.06% in 2017, 2.64% in 2018, and 4.22% in 2019. The percentage of Muslims in the total population of the country according to the 2011 Census is 14.2 per cent. Not only is the claim regarding a “spike” in selections of Muslims a patent lie, but Muslims have been massively under-represented in the civil services. Further, Jamia trains not just Muslim but also Hindu students for the civil services exams.

By creating alarm about Muslim “infiltration”, this islamophobic propaganda conveniently obscures a larger agenda of the RSS, to train and inject RSS-backed candidates into the civil services. According to a July 2020 report by Sameer on Siasat Daily, the RSS runs 14 ‘Samkalp’ centres where it trains candidates for the UPSC exams. In July, the joint secretary of the RSS, Krishna Gopal, held a meeting addressing more than 600 candidates who passed the exams after being trained by Samkalp. According to Samkalp spokespersons, 60% of successful candidates of the UPSC were associated with Samkalp, and 5000 serving bureaucrats have been coached by Samkalp in some form. RSS leaders themselves have outlined the objective of training civil servants, saying “Now each state and cadre has civil servants who owe their success to Samkalp. In the next 10 years, we hope to have a bureaucracy that will genuinely contribute to nation-building with true Indian values and ethos. This is what we are working towards,”

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