SC shoots down channel’s argument, stays telecast of show on Muslims

NEW DELHI: Seeking resumption of its Supreme Court stalled programme alleging that Muslims were “infiltrating UPSC”, Sudarshan TV told the SC on Thursday that its serialised investigative documentary was attempting to flag the threat posed to national security by foreign funding from terror linked organisations for the purpose of preparing Muslims for the civil services.

Reacting angrily to the alleged “insidious content” of the programme which it said was capable of hurting India’s traditional image as a “melting pot of cultures”, a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud had on Tuesday stayed further telecast of the 10-episode programme. Petitioner Firoz Iqbal Khan had sought a ban on the programme terming it as nothing but “hate speech” aimed at causing communal tension and enmity between Hindus and Muslims.

The channel said it had used the words “UPSC Jihad” as it became aware through various sources that Zakat Foundation had been receiving funds from various foreignbased terror linked organisations. “It is not that all contributors to Zakat Foundation are terror linked. However, some of the contributors are linked to organisations or are organisations that fund extremist groups. The funds received by Zakat Foundation, in turn, are used to support aspirants for IAS, IPS or UPSC,” the channel said in its affidavit filed through advocate Vishnu Jain.

“This is a matter of grave public interest. It is also a matter of national security. …It is the debate and discussions arising from the subject programme which may cause the government to re-examine its policy with respect to such funding,” it said.

It said from 2009 to 2019, 119 Zakat Foundation fellows had joined the civil services as per their website. In 2020 alone, 27 out of 40 Muslim candidates selected by UPSC were products of Zakat Foundation. As per FCRA records available with the home ministry, Zakat Foundation received over Rs 65 lakh in donations from Madina Trust UK and Rs 35 lakh from Muslim Aid (UK) between 2007-19.

The petitioner said the programme was based on hearsay and was far from facts.

Source: Times of India

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