Sudarshan TV’s Chavhanke Fans Divisive Flames in UPSC Jihad Show
It is unclear, whether Chavhanke was addressing questions, or fanning a discourse that has little to do with news.
Referring to himself as “Babasaheb ka shishya (BR Ambedkar’s student)” and emboldened by his “license” to air his show titled “UPSC Jihad Par Ab Tak Ka Sabse Bada Khulasa (The Biggest Expose’ of All Time on UPSC Jihad)” Sudarshan News Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke, used his prime-time slot on Friday, 11 September, to cast a series of aspersions on how the public service exam was rigged in favour of Muslims.
The show was broadcast two weeks after it was originally supposed to air, after the Delhi High Court had granted an interim stay against it, based on a plea by Jamia Milia Islamia students. The Supreme Court refused to grant a pre-broadcast injunction in a separate petition, and the high court eventually left the decision to allow the broadcast or not to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
After issuing a notice to the channel, the I&B Ministry on Thursday, 10 September, allowed the broadcast of the show, saying that Sudarshan News had assured it that the show would not violate the programme code which is binding on all TV channels. The Ministry also said that if any of the content on the show violates the law, action will be taken against the channel.
What Happened During the Broadcast?
Chavhanke began his “historic programme” (by his own admission), by praying before Lord Ganesha and letting the Lord know that “the PM, the Supreme Court and the whole country” are paying attention to his show .
He then made a slew of claims, including that the UPSC scoring process ensures more Muslims crack the exams; that this partiality towards Muslims in the public service exams was in fact PM Manmohan Singh’s “idea of India”; and that as he was addressing his viewers through his show, 550 policemen were stationed at his office, as well as at his residence.
Chavhanke, also in his show, projected some statistics that he claimed were sourced from social media, and went on to telecast a “mock-interview” – again, sourced from random social media handles – to show how the IAS interview process also allegedly favoured Muslims.
The interviewer, in the “mock-interview” can be seen informing the aspirant:
“Your interview won’t be the same as everyone else’s, you should already have that in your mind. There are multiple reasons for that. One reason is your age, the other is community.”
This Chavhanke used to substantiate his claims of a pro-Muslim bias in the UPSC. The fact that is was a “mock-interview” video and could have been conducted by anyone for any arbitrary purpose did not seem to hold Chavhanke back.
Ex PM Manmohan Singh’s Dodgy Links?
Even as Chavhanke attacked the UPSC, he made sure to exonerate PM Modi from his allegations, by saying that this wasn’t PM Modi’s idea of India, but former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s.
That wasn’t however his only attack on the former Prime Minister. Chavhanke went so far as to claim that former PM Manmohan Singh had links with the Zakat Foundation because his former OSD founded it, which he claimed in its part was associated with terrorists. He used a series of infographics to attempt to illustrate his point.
The proof for these associations with terrorists? Not provided.
But he did not just talk about the former Prime Minister’s link. He also used his show to paint a convoluted image of how the Muslim community was exploiting the system.
What Chavhanke Thinks Muslims Do
Chavhanke, emotional, emphatic, looked right into the camera and started telling a story of two close friends who want to crack the civil service exams. However, while one, quite possibly a Muslim, rakes the benefits of minority commission funds, as well as funds coming in from International organisations; Chavhanke bemoaned; the other, a non-Muslim, has to sell his “ma ka mangalsutra (mother’s matrimonial jewellery)” to get money for coaching.”
He then went on to allege that Muslims masquerade as OBC to garner the benefits of reservation as well. He further asked OBC leaders why they weren’t drawing any attention to Muslims eating into the seats that, according to Chavhanke, should have been theirs alone.
He also alleged that those who make, write and check Urdu papers were all from the same community, and that was why the pass percentage among those who wrote the Urdu language exams was higher than those who wrote in other languages. Thus, according to Chavhanke, it was all one big conspiracy aided and abetted by the Muslim community to infiltrate the public services.
Purpose of the Show?
Chavhanke repeatedly asserted that these were questions that others were asking, and had not been addressed in 10 years. He insisted, and dramatically so, that this was the reason he had dedicated a show, on his news channel, to addressing them.
It is unclear, however, whether Chavhanke, in effect, was addressing questions, or fanning a discourse that has little to do with news, and more to do with divisive conspiracy theories smattered all over social media, with no real proof of wrongdoing against those persons who form the key links to his claims.
In any case, Chavhanke, said that he will do 10 more episodes to elaborate on each claim that he made on Friday night’s show.
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