Like a desperate Hindi movie fan, Sudershan news owner and ‘editor’ Suresh Chavhanke has been trying to get the attention of superstar film actor Shahrukh Khan. Chavhanke has relied on his infamous ‘Expose’ style of what he claims is investigative ‘journalism’ to get behind Khan. Chavhanke is repackaging his old conspiracy theories claiming that Shahrukh Khan is close to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, or that he favours Pakistani cricket players, or for supposedly starring in a film made on the 18th century ruler of Mysore Tipu Sultan.
All old conspiracy theories are now being refreshed by team Chavhanke. In fact the so-called ‘Tipu Film’ and its poster was called out as fake last year. The Logical Indian had done a fact check in 2020 and discovered that no such movie was in the offing. “The poster was initially found in a video which was uploaded on Youtube as a thumbnail to a fan-made trailer. The video titled ‘Tipu Sultan Trailer Shah Rukh Khan New movie’, was uploaded in September 2018. The video looks like an amalgamation of shots from historical films and features the image of Khan wearing headgear,” the fact check had revealed.
However, facts mean nothing for Chavhanke who has now claimed, “If today a film is made on cruel people like Tipu Sultan, tomorrow it will also be made on Aurangzeb. We do not accept this.” He then promoted the self-branded hashtag #Suresh_Chavhanke_Expose_SRK, which was picked up by his ‘followers’.
Never mind that it was actually Tipu Sultan who restored the Shringeri monastery set up by Adi Shankaracharya after it was sacked by the Marathas in 1791.
Shah Rukh Khan, who is hailed as the ‘King of Bollywood’ had been at the core of another Twitter trend #BoycottShahRukhKhan where he was attacked for his Muslim identity and questions such as “Why praise Pathan in India?” were raised. Many out to troll Khan shared old photos which seem to have inspired Chavhanke to jump on the brandwagon, and be backed up by his staff and family. His son Pradosh Chavhanke, who now identifies himself as “Journalist Sub Editor- Youth Affairs” at Sudarshan News TV and “Managing Director” of some other ventures of the company has also claimed that “after the Mumbai terror attack, when Pakistani players were banned from playing in the IPL, Shahrukh was advocating whether or not I want Pakistani players.”
Remember UPSC Jihad?
Chavhanke has in the past been exposed by Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) that has taken action against different media houses and new agencies who were engaging in hate speech. Among them was Sudarshan News which had run a special nine-episode series on its show “Bindaas Bol” titled – Naukarshahi mein Muslamano ki Ghuspaith ke Shadyantra ka Bada Khulasa (The conspiracy behind Muslim infiltration in UPSC – The Big Reveal). The channel’s Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke had asked “How has there been a sudden rise in the number of Muslims in IAS and IPS? What is the secret behind scoring high marks in such a difficult exam? If Jihadis of Jamia become your Collectors and Chief Secretaries, what will happen then?”
Team CJP had complained to NBSA about the divisive and communal nature of the programme and warned how the discriminatory statements and unverified claims can potentially “lead to mass violence and targeting of the Muslim community”. It reminded the NBSA of the hate speech and vehement hate propaganda created and distributed against the Muslim community in the past few years and the of the role of the TV news media in this regard. The NBSA responded and sent the complaint to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB). The Delhi High Court had also requested the centre to determine if the programme should be aired, after the I&B Ministry allowed it the first episode of the show was aired on September 11, 2020. Chavhanke showed misleading calculations to assert how Muslims get undue advantages in the recruitment exams for public office.
Eventually it was the Supreme Court that restrained it from telecasting any more episodes and passed a restraining order stating, “This program was so insidious. Citizens from a particular community who go through the same examinations and get interviewed by the same panel. This also casts aspersions on the UPSC examination. How do we deal with these issues? Can this be tolerated?”
The Supreme Court also observed, “As a Supreme Court of the nation we cannot allow you to say that Muslims are infiltrating civil services. You cannot say that the journalist has absolute freedom doing this”. Justice Chandrachud, emphasised that there are certain principles by which the journalists are governed. “Any attempt to vilify a community must be viewed with great disfavour by this court which is a custodian of constitutional rights,” said the court while ordering Sudarshan TV to be restrained from telecasting the show.
However, Chavhanke it seems has not learnt his lesson yet. Hence the desperate attempt to provoke a world renouned Muslim Citizen of India. So how did Shahrukh Khan respond to the vile trend? The best way… he ignored it. The last time the superstar posted on Twitter was to wish his fans and friends on Ganeshotsav.
This story first appeared on sabrangindia.in