Following a petition by the students of Jamia Millia Islamia, the Delhi High Court today stayed the broadcast of tonight's episode of the show Bindas Bol on Sudarshan News, reported.
The trailer for the show had drawn a backlash on social media. The show was purportedly an "exposé" on the increase in the number of Muslims who qualified the civil services exam in 2020. It referred to Jamia Millia's students as "jihadis" trying to "infiltrate" the civil services.
The episode was supposed to air at 8 pm tonight.
The petitioners cited a threat to their lives. "The proposed broadcast, if allowed to go ahead, would present a clear and present danger to the security of the petitioners," the students' plea said.
It added that the proposed broadcast "would leave them open to the imminent threat of violence, including the possibility of lynching".
However, Sudarshan News' editor Suresh Chavhanke, who anchors Bindas Bol, told Newslaundry: "We have not received any such notice. Broadcast of the programme will be as usual. It can be a rumour on social media. If we get a formal notice from the court we will respect that."
Asked about this, Shadan Farasat, the lawyer for the petitioners, told Newslaundry: "If he goes ahead with the broadcast then it amounts to deliberate contempt of the court. I have already served him the notice on his personal number via WhatsApp at 6.34 pm. Since the court said the petitioner would serve the notice electronically, I have already emailed him the notice at 6.13 pm. I also tried speaking to him but when I called he kept on saying that he couldn't hear me."
The trailer for the show had been condemned by former bureaucrats and activists. Former IPS officers told Newslaundry they had called for action against the channel and Chavhanke while the IPS Association issued a statement condemning the bigotry.
Undeterred, Chavhanke took to Twitter this morning to brag that his tweet with the trailer hadn't been taken down by the tech platform, despite being reported several times. "Truth wins," he wrote.
The media must be free and fair, uninfluenced by corporate or state interests. That's why you, the public, need to pay to keep news free. Support independent media by subscribing to Newslaundry today.