Three weeks after a panellist on her primetime news show made derogatory remarks against Prophet Muhammad, Times Now anchor Navika Kumar has been named in an FIR allegedly for maliciously intending to outrage religious feelings.
The FIR, filed at the Nanalpet police station in Maharashtra’s Parbhani on the complaint of a Muslim cleric, also names Nupur Sharma, the now-suspended BJP leader who made the derogatory remarks.
Times Now has sought to , claiming it did not endorse them. "We urge participants on our debates to maintain restraint and not indulge in unparliamentary language against fellow panelists," the channel said in a statement.
But Navika has faced criticism for conducting such “debates”, especially after Nupur’s remarks sparked a diplomatic reaction from Muslim nations, protests across India, a slew of FIRs, arrests, killings, and destruction of houses. The Editors Guild of India no less has questioned TV channels like Times Now for “giving legitimacy to toxic voices”.
This is Times Now has sought to distance itself from remarks made on shows hosted by Navika. In November last year, Navika interviewed actor Kangana Ranaut at the Times Now 2021 summit in Delhi. Amid , the anchor listened quietly as Kangana declared that India getting freedom in 1947 was a “bheekh” and that "true independence" was gained only in 2014, when the BJP under Narendra Modi came to power.
After drawing criticism, including from BJP leaders, Times Now called Kangana's comments "an insult to millions of freedom fighters".
The same year, during a discussion around the Covid pandemic with prominent health experts, the Times Now editor seemed to go on a for asking questions and turning “our guns against the people sitting on this dais”.