Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale has sent a legal notice to Times Now accusing its editor, Rahul Shivshankar, of attributing “utterly false and malicious statements” to him on a show about the Hindu-Muslim tension in Leicester, UK.
Shivshankar “falsely claimed” that Gokhale blamed India for the trouble in Leicester and justified attacks on Hindus, the Trinamool leader said.
Shivshankar claimed on his India Upfrontshow Tuesday night that some people had decided to “whitewash the hate crimes against Hindus” in the UK.
He brought up a tweet of Gokhale’s and said, “A TMC leader has come out and said, and let me quote him, ‘Time to flag Hindutva extremism after what happened in Leicester’. He is not calling out Islamist extremism here. He is drawing a false equivalence.”
The news anchor went on to say that Gokhale, “much like Pakistan does in the United Nations”, was blaming India and Hindutva for the violence. “In a sense he is justifying it,” he declared.
The tweet he was supposedly referring to was this
After the shocking events in Leicester, itâs time the UK & other countries flag the threat of Hindutva extremism.
This has repercussions on Indiaâs internal security & democracy.
These overseas extremist groups also fund the BJP.
In his legal notice, Gokhale has said Shivshankar and Times Now attributed false statements to him with the intention of “harming his reputation and defaming him”. “This is a plain and clear case of defamation of the plaintiff,” the notice states. “Moreover, through the false attribution of untrue and malicious comments to the plaintiff, the respondents have also endangered his life and personal security in such polarised times, which is a blatant criminal act.”
Gokahle has demanded that Times Now air an unconditional apology on the India Upfront show as well as on social media. He has also asked for Shivshankar’s comments to be removed from the internet in addition to damages of Rs 2 crore.
The notice gives Times Now and Shivshankar seven days to comply. If they don’t, the notice states, then Gokhale will approach a high court with a civil defamation suit.
On his show, Shivshankar also declared that “Islamists were terrorising Hindus”, despite reports that both sides have indulged in and called for violence against the other. This is not the first time Indian news anchors have sought to inflame communal passions.