Former civil servants write to Home Minister seeking action against Sudharshan TV

New Delhi: Dated 1st September 2020, former civil servants filed petition againts Sudharshan TV for broadcasting trailer of a communal show. The show titled ‘UPSC JIhad’ claims to ‘expose’ Muslims clearing UPSC exam and ‘infiltrating’ the executive. The Delhi High Court on Saturday refused to lift its stay order for transmission of the show.

Sudharshan News chief Suresh Chavhanke in trailer of his show claimed that the number of Muslims appearing for and clearing the Union Public Service Exams had suddenly increased recently. “How has the number of Muslim IPS [Indian Police Service] and IAS [Indian Administrative Service] officers increased recently?” he had asked. “What will happen if ‘Jamia ke jihadi’ rise to positions of authority in the country?”

The trailer video was fiercely condemned by police officers, journalists and activists. The Indian Police Service Association denounced the video as communal and irresponsible journalism. The Indian Police Foundation and several other people demanded strict action against Chavhanke.

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Honourable Home Minister of India,

Honourable Minister for Information & Broadcasting, India

Chairman, National Human Rights Commission Chairman,

Minorities Commission Chairman,

Union Public Service Commission Chairman,

News Broadcasting Standards Authority Honourable Lt Governor,

Delhi Honourable Chief Minister,

Delhi Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs,

Govt. of India Secretary,

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting,

Govt. of India The Commissioner of Police, Delhi.

We are a group of former civil servants belonging to the All India and Central Services who have worked with the Central Government as well as different State Governments of India. As a group, we have no affiliation with any political party but believe in being neutral, impartial and committed to the Constitution of India. We are raising, through this letter, an urgent issue regarding the proposed telecast of a communally charged, divisive and sensational series by Sudarshan News TV channel.

This series claims to be an expose of a conspiracy in the recruitment process that has resulted in a sudden increase in the number of Muslim officers selected for the two most prestigious services in the country, the IAS and the IPS. Jamia Millia Islamia has been singled out in this context. We understand that the Delhi High Court has granted an interim stay on the telecast. However, we feel stronger legal and administrative action is warranted. It is completely perverse to allege that there is a conspiracy to infiltrate Muslim officers into the services, or to use terms like UPSC Jihad or Civil Services Jihad in this connection. These communal and irresponsible statements amount to hate speech and are defamatory of an entire community.

The telecast of the programme, if allowed, will have the following effects:

1) It will generate hatred towards the largest minority community in the country, viz. Muslims, without having any basis in fact. The country is already smouldering with hate speech against Muslims, including allegations of Corona Jihad and Love Jihad, which various courts have found to be false. This telecast will add further fuel to that fire.

2) It will tar the impeccable reputation of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), the premier organisation for civil service recruitment, by claiming that it is biased in its recruitment processes. UPSC’s recruitment processes are widely recognised as being entirely fair, above board and without any bias towards any language, region, religious or other community. The UPSC is one of the few institutions in the country which still enjoys an unblemished reputation for integrity and has enormous credibility both with the government and with the people of India. The telecast will destroy people’s faith in this highly regarded institution.

3) It will spread a false belief about a disproportionate increase in the number of Muslims being selected for government services, especially for the IAS and IPS. A recent report in the Indian Express said that “Muslims make up 3.46 per cent of the country’s 8,417 IAS and IPS officers. Of 292 Muslim officers, 160 are among the 5,862 who had been selected through the Civil Services examinations conducted by the UPSC, while the remaining 132 are among 2,555 who were promoted to the IAS or IPS from the state civil services on the basis of seniority and performance, which is also assessed by the UPSC.

( It should be noted that this 3.46% is far short of the percentage of Muslims in the population, which is 14.2%. Over the last forty years, the number of Muslim candidates has been going up and down. In fact, there have been years when not a single Muslim candidate was selected in the IAS, and, therefore, allegations such as these are totally unfounded. Such a telecast may also persuade other caste, linguistic and regional groups to look at their rate of success in the civil services examination, an examination which should be, and is, based on merit. In the process, the credibility of UPSC will be compromised.

4) It will malign the reputation of Jamia Millia Islamia, which has recently been rated as the top central university in India. Jamia Millia Islamia has, in fact, been fulfilling a major social obligation to the country by offering free coaching services to disadvantaged candidates (Muslims, SCs, STs and women) to help them succeed in the UPSC examinations. The telecast will discourage Jamia Millia Islamia and others like them from offering services to socially disadvantaged groups.

5) The use of terms like “UPSC jihad” and “Civil Services jihad” are an attempt to divide the civil administration of the country along religious lines and undermines the excellent contributions made by administrators across the board to the development of India.

In a case filed before the High Court of Delhi a few days ago, the petitioners have urged that offences have been committed under “Sections 153A(1) Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony,153B(1) Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration, 295A Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs and Section 499 Defamation, of the Indian Penal Code”. These alleged offences need to be investigated thoroughly. In a recent judgement on the same matter, the Supreme Court, while not granting a stay on the telecast of the programme, has stated “We note that under statutory provisions, competent authorities are vested with powers to ensure compliance with law, including provisions of the criminal law intended to ensure social harmony and the peaceful coexistence of all communities.” We, therefore, urge the Union Home Ministry, the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi, the Chief Minister, Delhi and the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to order the lodging of FIRs under the relevant legal provisions. We also request the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority of India to investigate whether or not the show would run afoul of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, read with the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994, and the Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards and take suitable action. The National Human Rights Commission, the Minorities Commission, and the Union Public Service Commission are also requested to take notice of this vicious hate campaign to malign a particular religion and community through the propagation of slanted news that will not stand scrutiny by any objective criterion.

91 signatories, as below:

1. Anita Agnihotri IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Social Justice Empowerment, GoI 2. Salahuddin Ahmad IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan 3. Shafi Alam IPS (Retd.) Former Director General, National Crime Records Bureau, GoI 4. K. Saleem Ali IPS (Retd.) Former Special Director, CBI, GoI 5. S.P. Ambrose IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Secretary, Ministry of Shipping & Transport, GoI 6. Anand Arni R&AW (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI 7. Mohinderpal Aulakh IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police (Jails), Govt. of Punjab 8. G. Balachandhran IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal 9. Vappala Balachandran IPS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI 10. Gopalan Balagopal IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal 11. Chandrashekhar Balakrishnan IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Coal, GoI 12. Rana Banerji IAS (Retd.) Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW), GoI 13. Sharad Behar IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh 14. Meeran C Borwankar IPS (Retd.) Former DGP, Bureau of Police Research and Development, GoI 15. Sundar Burra IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra 16. R. Chandramohan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Secretary, Transport and Urban Development, Govt. of NCT of Delhi 17. Rachel Chatterjee IAS (Retd.) Former Special Chief Secretary, Agriculture, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh 18. Javid Chowdhury IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI 19. Anna Dani IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra 20. Vibha Puri Das IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, GoI 21. P.R. Dasgupta IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Food Corporation of India, GoI 22. Nareshwar Dayal IFS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom 23. Pradeep K. Deb IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Deptt. Of Sports, GoI 24. Nitin Desai IES (Retd.) Former Secretary and Chief Economic Adviser, Ministry of Finance, GoI 25. Keshav Desiraju IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI 26. M.G. Devasahayam IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Govt. of Haryana 27. Sushil Dubey IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Sweden 28. K.P. Fabian IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Italy 29. Prabhu Ghate IAS (Retd.) Former Addl. Director General, Department of Tourism, GoI 30. Suresh K. Goel IFS (Retd.) Former Director General, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, GoI 31. H.S. Gujral IFoS (Retd.) Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Govt. of Punjab 32. Meena Gupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI 33. Sajjad Hassan IAS (Retd.) Former Commissioner (Planning), Govt. of Manipur 34. Siraj Hussain IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Agriculture, GoI 35. Najeeb Jung IAS (Retd.) Former Lieutenant Governor, Delhi 36. Rahul Khullar IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India 37. Ajai Kumar IFoS(Retd.) Former Director, Ministry of Agriculture, GoI 38. Brijesh Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Department of Information Technology, GoI 39. Sudhir Kumar IAS (Retd.) Former Member, Central Administrative Tribunal 40. P.K. Lahiri IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary (Revenue), GoI and former Executive Director, Asian Development Bank 41. Aloke B. Lal IPS (Retd.) Former Director General (Prosecution), Govt. of Uttarakhand 42. Subodh Lal IPoS (Resigned) Former Deputy Director General, Ministry of Communications, GoI 43. P.M.S. Malik IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Myanmar & Special Secretary, MEA, GoI 44. Harsh Mander IAS (Retd.) Govt. of Madhya Pradesh 45. Amitabh Mathur IPS (Retd.) Former Director, Aviation Research Centre and Former Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, GoI 46. Aditi Mehta IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Rajasthan 47. Shivshankar Menon IFS (Retd.) Former Foreign Secretary and Former National Security Adviser 48. Sonalini Mirchandani IFS (Resigned) GoI 49. Noor Mohammad IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India 50. Avinash Mohananey IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Sikkim 51. Deb Mukharji IFS (Retd.) Former High Commissioner to Bangladesh and former Ambassador to Nepal 52. Nagalsamy IA&AS (Retd.) Former Principal Accountant General, Tamil Nadu & Kerala 53. P.G.J. Nampoothiri IPS (Retd.) Former Director General of Police, Govt. of Gujarat 54. Amitabha Pande IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Inter-State Council, GoI 55. Niranjan Pant IA&AS (Retd.) Former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General, GoI 56. Alok Perti IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Coal, GoI 57. R.M. Premkumar IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra 58. S.Y. Quraishi IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Election Commissioner 59. V.P. Raja IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission 60. K. Sujatha Rao IAS (Retd.) Former Health Secretary, GoI 61. M.Y. Rao IAS (Retd.) 62. Satwant Reddy IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Chemicals and Petrochemicals, GoI 63. Vijaya Latha Reddy IFS (Retd.) Former Deputy National Security Adviser, GoI 64. Julio Ribeiro IPS (Retd.) Former Adviser to Governor of Punjab & former Ambassador to Romania 65. Aruna Roy IAS (Resigned) 66. Deepak Sanan IAS (Retd.) Former Principal Adviser (AR) to Chief Minister, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh 67. G. Sankaran IC&CES (Retd.) Former President, Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal 68. Shyam Saran IFS (Retd.) Former Foreign Secretary and Former Chairman, National Security Advisory Board 69. S. Satyabhama IAS (Retd.) Former Chairperson, National Seeds Corporation, GoI 70. N.C. Saxena IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Planning Commission, GoI 71. A. Selvaraj IRS (Retd.) Former Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Chennai, GoI 72. Ardhendu Sen IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of West Bengal 73. Abhijit Sengupta IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI 74. Aftab Seth IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Japan 75. Ashok Kumar Sharma IFoS (Retd.) Former MD, State Forest Development Corporation, Govt. of Gujarat 76. Ashok Kumar Sharma IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Finland and Estonia 77. Navrekha Sharma IFS (Retd.) Former Ambassador to Indonesia 78. Pravesh Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh 79. Rashmi Shukla Sharma IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh 80. Padamvir Singh IAS (Retd.) Former Director, LBSNAA, Mussoorie, GoI 81. Sujatha Singh IFS (Retd.) Former Foreign Secretary, GoI 82. Tirlochan Singh IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, National Commission for Minorities, GoI 83. Jawhar Sircar IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Culture, GoI, & former CEO, Prasar Bharati 84. Narendra Sisodia IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, GoI 85. Parveen Talha IRS (Retd.) Former Member, Union Public Service Commission 86. Thanksy Thekkekera IAS (Retd.) Former Additional Chief Secretary, Minorities Development, Govt. of Maharashtra 87. P.S.S. Thomas IAS (Retd.) Former Secretary General, National Human Rights Commission 88. Geetha Thoopal IRAS (Retd.) Former General Manager, Metro Railway, Kolkata 89. Hindal Tyabji IAS (Retd.) Former Chief Secretary rank, Govt. of Jammu & Kashmir 90. Ashok Vajpeyi IAS (Retd.) Former Chairman, Lalit Kala Akademi 91. Ramani Venkatesan IAS (Retd.) Former Director General, YASHADA, Govt. of Maharashtra.

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