New Delhi: Sudarshan News Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke has defended the use of words “UPSC jihad” and “bureaucracy jihad” in the controversial show ‘Bindaas Bol‘ hosted by him as he sought to convince the Supreme Court to lift the ban on the show.
In his affidavit filed in the top court Wednesday night, Chavhanke said he has knowledge that the “Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI) received funds from various terror-linked organisations”.
In his affidavit, he also tabled details of the foreign-based groups that have provided funds to ZFI, which provides coaching to aspirants for civil services. Chavhanke has based his assertions on government documents such as the records related to foreign contributions.
The document was filed in response to petitions against the broadcast of the show.
A three-judge bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had Tuesday restrained Sudarshan News from broadcasting the remaining 10 episodes of the controversial programme after it was shown clips of the four episodes that have already been aired. The bench described the programme as “vilification of Muslims.”
‘It’s my duty to awaken citizens and government’
Chavhanke said his endeavour is to “expose anti-national activities”, and said in no episode has he opposed the entry of Muslims in the civil services. He wants the court to vacate the stay enforced on the programme.
“I am doing investigative journalism. I feel it is my duty to awaken the citizens and the Government about anti-national and anti-social activities and the modus operandi,” read the affidavit filed through his advocate Vishnu Jain.
To prove it is bonafide, Chavhanke further claimed that his programme also questions whether the benefits granted to an other backward classes (OBC) from a minority community must be reviewed. According to his claim, candidates from the minority community are taking advantage of OBC and minority schemes simultaneously. This, he added, raised political and social issues, for which a debate is needed.
When the matter came up for hearing before the court Thursday, it was adjourned to Friday. This was done after the petitioners sought time to file a rejoinder to Sudharshan News’s affidavit. The court agreed to grant opportunity to the petitioners and requested the Chief Justice of India to constitute the bench for a hearing Thursday.
Justice Chandrachud told the lawyers representing all parties that in case the CJI is unable to constitute the bench Friday, the matter will be heard Monday.
‘Extremist groups funding ZFI’
The affidavit submitted that not all contributors to ZFI are terror-linked, but some of the contributors are linked to organisations, or are organisations that fund “extremist groups”.
“The funds received by the ZFI, in turn, are used to support aspirants for IAS, IPS or UPSC,” the affidavit said.
Chavhanke denied the episodes telecast till now carried a statement or a message claiming that members of a particular community should not join UPSC. The civil services, he said, was an open exam and members of every community may participate in the entrance exam and qualify.
“The thrust of the programme is that there appears to be a conspiracy which needs to be investigated by the NIA or CBI. It appears that terror-linked organisations are funding the Zakat Foundation of India, which in turn is supporting the UPSC aspirants,” stated the affidavit.
“There is a design to induct persons with the financial support of international fundamentalists to achieve their oblique motives in India, which may pose a serious threat to the security of India,” read the affidavit.
‘No ill will against any community’
In the affidavit, Chavhanke also said that certain organisations working outside India have hatched a conspiracy to infiltrate the bureaucracy.
“I emphasise here that I have no ill will against any community or any individual. I do not oppose the selection of any meritorious candidate in the service of the Union or the States,” he said.
Chavhanke referred to the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) that makes accepting funds from a terrorist organisation, gang or an individual terrorist a crime, notwithstanding the fact that whether such funds were actually used or not for commission of the act.
He also said his show raises objection to Muslims taking advantage of the OBC quota and it cannot be called communal.
“The answering respondent has just raised a question as to how benefit of minority scheme along with Muslim OBCs are taken simultaneously and the same amounts to discrimination against the other segments of the society,” Chavhanke’s advocate Jain said.
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