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TV host says ‘ching chong’ to Assamese child, celebs laugh, CM calls it ‘unacceptable’

Row erupted after a clip from reality show, Dance Deewane on Colors TV, went viral on social media. Host Raghav Juyal was seen making alleged racist comments in it.

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New Delhi: Television host Raghav Juyal has attracted widespread criticism for his alleged racist comments directed towards an Assamese child contestant on a dance reality show. Leading the condemnation, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma called the comments “totally unacceptable” even as Juyal sought to defend himself, saying a specific section has been taken “out of context”.

The controversy erupted after a clip from the television show, ‘Dance Deewane’ on Colors TV, went viral on social media. ThePrint couldn’t ascertain when the episode aired.

In the viral clip, Juyal can be seen spouting gibberish, allegedly meant to be the Chinese language, before introducing Assamese dance contestant, six-year-old Gunjan Sinha. The gibberish comments included words and phrases like “momo” and “ching chong”. 

The judges on the show, actor Madhuri Dixit and choreographer Remo D’Souza, and the audience were seen laughing along.

The remarks sparked condemnation and calls for action against the TV presenter. On Tuesday, the Assam CM said racism has “no place in our country” as he highlighted the incident. Several others also criticised Juyal. 

Retired IPS officer L.T. Bishnoi even requested the Assam Police to look into the matter.

Also read: Congress leader calling BJP ‘wild poachers’ of Northeast no political jibe, it’s pure racism

Juyal issues apology, people term it as ‘gaslighting’

On Monday, Juyal issued an apology on his Instagram account, saying a specific section from the episode has been taken “out of context”. He said the “gibberish” was a running joke with Sinha as she had earlier claimed to speak “Chinese”.

“I am so sorry if anyone’s sentiments have been hurt. It was not my or Colors channel’s motive to do that. Before showing just one selective clip from the show, I would want you to watch all episodes to understand the context,” he said.

“People need to see all episodes. This is a joke that we play along with Gunjan as when she was asked what her special talent was, she had said that she can speak in Chinese, essentially gibberish, so I have had conversations with her in gibberish many times in the past,” he says.

He added that many of his close friends and relatives are in different parts of the Northeast and he is not racist.

Former National Students Union of India leader Angellica Aribam said the “apology” was essentially “gaslighting”, and Juyal was seeking to justify his remarks by saying he has friends in the Northeast.

The controversial remarks come in the backdrop of a spate of attacks against people from the Northeast, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic over its alleged Chinese origin. Several people complained of being abused with slurs like “corona”, “chinky”, etc. Last year, a Delhi University student was also spat at and called coronavirus.

Also read: Crook, TRP-hunter, idiot, clown: How Indian journalist fell from hero to zero for Bollywood


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