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Displaying complete ignorance of the history and culture of India Sudhir Chaudhary associates shuttlecock burqa with radicalization on Indian Muslims; gets slammed by Muslim women.

Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — On May 28th, soon after the Lok Sabha by-polls for Kairana town of Western UP wrapped up, reports of several EVM being found faulty started to come in. The same evening Zee TV’s Sudhir Chaudhary used his prime time show DNA, to make an absurd and illogical claim regarding the practice of wearing shuttlecock burqa by women in Western UP. 

In the episode titled ‘Analysis on the arrival of the shuttlecock burqa in Kairana’ Chaudhary claimed that the Muslims in the region are being radicalized to propagate the ‘ideology of Wahabism’.

With his faulty analysis and baseless conclusion Chaudhary has invited the wrath of Muslim women.

Raising strong objection to establishing a relationship between shuttlecock burqa and  Talibanisation of the Indian Muslim community several Muslim women slammed him for communally biased and untrue reporting.

Chaudhary is also being trolled on twitter for the false and concocted story.

Speaking to Caravan Daily, Farheen Sultana, 24, a social activist said, “Zee news is milling again about Muslim women. What to wear and what not to, is a personal choice.”

Questioning the intention behind the TV program Sultana said, “Shuttlecock burqa just represents a style of clothing, it doesn’t construe with adoption of any ideology. It is worn in Afghanistan and in some other countries too. If the same style of clothing is being worn by Indian Muslim women, what’s the issue?”

“The channel must stop making mountain of a mole every time,” she said.

Almas Saeed, a post graduate in Modern History who hails from Moradabad said, “Mostly women wear this kind of burqa in rural and suburban regions as a cultural practice. It can’t be related to Wahabism.”

“Perhaps Sudheer Chaudhary has never been to West Uttar Pradesh. This Shuttlecock Burqa is worn by Muslim women here since a long time, it is nothing new,” she said.

Strongly condemning Chaudhary for calling Muslims ‘Kattar’ (radical), Saeed said, “It is very subjective. If radicalization means practicing a culture then Chief Minister (Yogi Adityanath) should not wear saffron attire. According to his (Chaudhary) argument he should himself first shun the western suit.”

Sahbnam Khan, 50, a resident of Meerut also said that shuttlecock Burqa in not a new arrival.

“I am seeing the shuttlecock burqa since my childhood days, the old and middle age women used to wear this particular type of burqa which is available in number of colours,” she said.

DNA episode and Kairana By-polls

Amidst the reports of faulty EVMs the Election Commission ordered re-polling at 73 polling booths in Kairana. The re-polling was scheduled for May 30th.

Chaudhary claimed that their team refrained from broadcasting the program before the Kairana election on May 28th as they did not want to affect the polls. The claim however holds no water as the Election Commission ordered re-polling at 73 booths due to reports of faulty EVMs.

The re-polling took place on 30th May, two days after Chaudhary made the communally polarising analysis and drew an insinuating relationship between shuttlecock burqa and Talibanization. Chaudhary went so far as to say that ‘Kairana has become a big laboratory of communal discrimination and politics based on religion’.  

Later in the show, Chaudhary came up with a June 2016 report which claimed that the Hindus of Kairana are not safe and the demography is changing. According to experts no such figures exist and without figures from credible sources it is not possible to come up with an authentic report.

Besides Chaudhary’s prime time program  DNA, the same burqa story was shown on the same day in Zee’s other program  ‘Tal Thok Key’ by a different news anchor.

It would be wrong to assume that this communally charged episode based on non existing facts, has not influenced people’s choice in the re-polling that took place on 30th May.

Tahmina Laskar who works as Senior Program Officer at Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, said, “As far as the design of the burqa is concerned I think it has nothing remotely to do with Taliban. I come from the North Eastern state of Assam where most Muslim women do not wear burqa, but I have seen some of my aunts wearing this particular design which is being accused as being the Talibani burqa. There was election in Kairana and the relationship established just to score communal brownie points by Zee media is utter nonsense.”

Chaudhary’s show contradicted itself

Chaudhary’s show itself countered his claims. When the Zee reporter talked to some Muslim women, they out rightly rejected a relationship between the shuttlecock burqa and any ideology. 

A burqa clad woman said, “This is a matter of fashion and choice, someone chooses black and someone else chooses any other colour.”

Another woman named Mohsina said, “Parda is necessary. The colour and design of burqa is just a matter of fashion.”

Talking to Zee Reporter, Rashid Ali, former Chairman, Municipal Corporation, Kairana, said, “Shuttlecock Burqa is in tradition since the beginning, the only difference is that elderly ladies mostly opt for it, while the young girls wear black burqa. There is no connection of this burqa with Taliban.”

Another local resident, Ghayur Ali, told Zee TV same thing.

Violation of Indian Penal Code

This is not the first time that the channel has indulged in unethical, false and communally biased reporting.

Zee TV has clearly and regularly violated sections 153A and 295A of IPC.

Section 153 pertains to ‘promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony’ while section 295 A pertains to ‘deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs’.

Upon violation of section 153 A, the violator is liable to be punished with imprisonment which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to a fine. On violating section 295 A, the violator is liable for imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to four years, or with fine, or with both.

To maintain the ethics of TV journalism regulatory bodies like National Broadcasters Association (NBA) need to be more stringent.

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