New Delhi: Jamia Milia Islamia on Thursday said it has asked the education ministry to take ‘appropriate action’ against Sudarshan News channel and its editor-in-chief Suresh Chavhanke for “tarnishing” the image of the university and the Muslim community.
Chavhanke released a ‘trailer’ for a news show that is scheduled to air on Friday night about Muslim students who have cleared the Union Public Service Commission exams with the help of coaching from Jamia’s Residential Coaching Academy. The anchor described this as ‘infiltration’ of the civil services and ‘UPSC jihad’, calling the students who cleared the exams ‘Jamia ke Jihadi’.
The university’s public relations officer released a statement, saying “We have written to the education ministry informing them about the whole episode and requested them to take appropriate action. We told them that the Sudarshan Channel has not only tried to tarnish the image of JMI and a particular community but the image of UPSC also.”
The trailer drew strong criticism from several sections, with the Indian Police Service (Central) Association, tweeting through its official handle against the targeting of candidates, describing the story as a “communal and irresponsible piece of journalism”.
The Jamia Teachers’ Association requested the university administration to file a criminal defamation suit against Chavhanke. “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 people of India. He tried his best to divide the Indian society on the religious line,” a statement released by the association says.
Requesting the Jamia administration to process the matter for FIR under various sections of IPC and UAPA, the association said that proceedings for criminal defamation cases could also be initiated. “It is worth mentioning that Jamia Millia Islamia stood as number one Central University of the nation in an assessment by the MHRD and media persons/their masters are using a cruel approach against 100 year old University and the Indians who serve the nation through administrative services. JTA thanks all who stand in solidarity with fellow Indians and believe in the constitution of India,” the statement says.
Jamia vice chancellor Najma Akhtar told the Indian Express that the university is unlikely to take Sudahrshan News or Chavhanke to court. “We don’t want to give them too much importance. 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,” she told the newspaper.
Chavhanke has defended the show, saying his show is about the “sudden spike in no of people of certain category selected in UPSC Civils in the last few years”.