Protests, Death Threats Over Aaj Tak Journo Rohit Sardana’s Tweet
The building hosting both India Today and Aaj Tak in Bangalore was surrounded on Friday by protesters led by Anjuman-e-Imamia, a Shia Muslim group. Their protest was in retaliation to Aaj Tak journalist Rohit Sardana’s ‘derogatory’ tweet which they say hurt religious sentiments and attempted to create ‘disharmony’ between different religious communities.
On 16 November, Sardana had posted a tweet in the context of S Durga and asked why the title of 'Sexy' was only put after a Hindu goddess and asked if the same could be done for other names as well. In his tweet, he had referred to women in Islam and Christianity including Prophet Muhammad's wife Ayesha, daughter Fatima and Mary, Jesus Christ's mother.
A series of protests broke out across the country in response to Sardana’s tweet. Several Muslim groups went on to file complaints against the journalist, with the Naya Nagar police at Mumbai’s Mira Road invoking IPC Sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) and 67 (IT) Act against him, reported Times of India.
The Muslim organisation, as well as several others which included Christian groups as well, had called for the arrest of Sardana and stated that they would continue to protest until it was carried out.
They staged a large protest in front of the Old City police commissioner’s office at Purani Haveli in Hyderabad on Thursday and blocked traffic and chanted slogans on Richmond Road in Bengaluru on Friday.
Sardana had tweeted out a public apology on 22 November.
However, the protests and threats did not stop. He said that both he and his family were constantly receiving threats from unknown numbers, and posting screenshots of the messages on Twitter, he asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP Police to take note and do something.
And there were more.
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju was one of the first political leaders to respond to his pleas. Extending support for Sardana on Twitter, Rijiju lashed out at the ‘free speech’ liberals who according to him, decided to choose this moment to not stand by the ideal of ‘freedom of expression’.
Sardana, known for his brisk and straight-forward style, used to host a popular show on Zee News called ‘Taal Thok Ke’. He is now the face of the popular show ‘Dangal’ on Aaj Tak.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
(With inputs from The News Minute and Times of India.)