Pakistan flag to represent Indian Muslims: Bengaluru police file FIR against Asianet Suvarna, its anchor

In a show aired on 9 May and hosted by Ajit, the Indian flag represented Hindus in India and the Pakistani flag represented Indian Muslims.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 13, 2024 | 6:38 PMUpdatedMay 13, 2024 | 6:38 PM

Asianet Pakistan flag for Indian Muslims

The Highgrounds Police Station in Bengaluru filed an FIR against TV channel Asianet Suvarna News and its anchor Ajit Hanumakkanavar on Monday, 13 May, for using the Pakistani flag to represent Indian Muslims during a show.

In the show ‘Suvarna News Hour’ aired on 9 May and hosted by Ajit, the Indian flag represented Hindus in India and the Pakistani flag represented Indian Muslims.

The show focused on recent data released by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) which claimed that the Hindu population in India has decreased since independence while the Muslim population has increased significantly.

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The complaint

Subsequently, a complaint was registered by one Tanveer Ahmed, a resident of Shantinagar in Bengaluru. He said in the complaint that the tone and tenor of the show attempted to create fear and disrupt communal harmony by misleading Indians with false claims.

Talking to South First, he said it was not the first time the anchor and the channel tried to polarise the society.

“This is not a one-off instance. In 2018, the same anchor (Ajit) said something nasty about the prophet. Similar things happened during the pandemic and it has become a pattern,” said Tanveer.

He also quoted the example of Neha Hiremath’s murder being politicised and that the channel is continuing to vilify the community with its propaganda.

In the channel, linked to BJP leader and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekar, the anchor went on to ‘reason’ that the Muslim population in India was increasing because there was no minimum age of marriage for the community.

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FIR filed

Tanveer wanted the FIR to be filed under different sections including Sections 153A (1)(b), 259A, 298 and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, the FIR was filed only under Section 505(2) (Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes).

The graphic was changed to the respective religion’s symbols after facing criticism and the channel apologised for the “oversight”.

The channel claimed that the said graphics were to be used for another episode discussing the growth of majority communities in India and Pakistan.

It added that the graphic was removed as soon as it was noticed by the team.

Reacting to the “appalling segment”, Congress leader Mansoor Khan said it is reprehensive and dangerously divisive.

“This is blatant dehumanisation, a sinister attempt to paint 20 crore Indian citizens as ‘the other’ based solely on their faith,” he added.