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For this new Hindi channel, 6 Indian armed forces veterans are turning journalists

The ex-armed forces contingent in TV9 Bharatvarsh will be led by former deputy chief of army staff, Lt Gen. (retd) Gurmeet Singh.

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New Delhi: Less than two weeks before the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections, a brand new Hindi news channel from the TV9 group is set to go on air, featuring a number of armed forces veterans.

TV9 Bharatvarsh will launch Saturday, with Vinod Kapri as group editor, Ajit Anjum as consulting editor, and Hemant Sharma as its news director.

Six retired Indian armed forces officers will also be part of the editorial team of TV9 Bharatvarsh, and will anchor different shows.

The veterans include former deputy chief of army staff Lt Gen. Gurmeet Singh, former Indian Air Force officers Wing Commander Anuma Acharya and Squadron Leader Sonia Ajay, as well as former Army officers Captain Amrit Kaur, Col Danvir Singh Chauhan and Col Shailendra Singh.

The quest for credibility

The Hindi news channel will have around 30 anchors, which will also likely include social activist Kamla Bhasin, TEDx speaker Priya Malik and acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. Kapri told ThePrint that the channel will also have anchors from Kashmir, the Northeast and Andhra Pradesh. It is also looking for a transgender anchor.

Asked why the channel had decided to bring on board such a large number ex-services personnel, group editor Kapri said the idea was to experiment with the channel, which is why he had decided to bring together a variety of people from different backgrounds who have vast experience and credibility.

“It is true that television media has completely lost credibility. Viewers relate anchors to political parties. They are called bikaau (sell-outs), dalaal (brokers) and ‘Presstitutes’. I wanted to do an experiment, and thus, we brought together people with an incredible track record of integrity. The anchor should come across as an individual, not someone with a set agenda,” he said.

Also read: DD and AIR set to launch news channels, digital platform ahead of Lok Sabha elections

Fighting ‘the enemy within’

A 1 minute-16 second-long trailer showing Lt Gen. Singh was released by the channel’s Twitter handle Thursday, in which he spoke about his 40 years of experience in the Indian Army, his 10-year stint in Jammu & Kashmir, and the “enemies within the country”.

“In the past 40 years, one question has always bothered me. That is: The enemies outside the country will be handled by the defence forces, but what should be the treatment for the enemies within the country?” he asked in the clip.

Speaking to ThePrint, Singh said by referring to the “enemies within”, he was pointing at the thinking which is against the nation, its people and the truth.

The traits (of the enemy) could be shak (suspicion), shanka (doubt) and sawaal (questions), he said, emphasising that asking questions is not the problem, but raising sawaal (questions) with tanj (sarcasm) or bias or an agenda is the problem.

He said India’s armed forces are apolitical, professional and secular, and in the eyes of the people, they are trustworthy and credible.

“In the instance of India’s recent airstrikes, for example, the air chief publicly spoke about hitting the target and credible evidence was presented before the people. He would not risk his credibility by giving out incorrect facts,” he said.

“But there are people who doubt, dissent and raise questions on security issues without knowledge.”

Singh’s show will be called Jai Hind General, and he says he is excited about his show in a channel which “will have no agenda”.

“There was this increasing perception that retired officers of the armed forces can contribute only as panellists. But I wanted to contribute in other ways too, for a channel which is not Left- or Right-leaning,” he said.

Also read: News channels in India revived their romance with ‘sources’ for all things Balakot

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  1. You have got no choice to say Yes or No.
    I am joining you from now onward.
    Thanks for the opportunity.
    Best wishes

    -Col Anand, Veteran

  2. Congratulations
    Hope at last poorva sainiks have a source to have informations which affects them.
    Can we look forward for a Regular information box through TV9 for the sainiks
    Jai hind

  3. Enemies “ within the country “ sounds like McCarthyism. Stop looking at Indian citizens with shaq. Sawaal toh woh karenge hi. Yeh haq unhein Sanvidhaan ne diya hai. No holy cows, including the armed forces. We are all cut from the same muslin.

    • Ashok – with due respect – you have no clue what is going on in the Armed Forces. We are not only meant to sacrifices on the border. We have our life & family too. How many of you have ever gone beyond your comfort Zone & seen the life of Fauji on the border guarding the country .
      Come out of your comfort zone go and visit a border are that is also your/our India that we love.
      As an ex Army officer I have no faith on the existing political system that they will look after our concern – hence this mouth piece by the best way to bring awaking in the Enemy with in the country.

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