Zee News programme offends Sikh community


Furore among Sikh bodies over TV programmeA programme on a television channel caused a furore among Sikh organisations today, with SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar terming its telecast as a conspiracy by the Congress against Sikhs and demanding legal action.

Several Sikh organisations reacted sharply to the alleged portrayal of Sikhs in bad light and the giving of weightage to Khalistan ideologues like Jagjit Singh Chauhan by Zee News in the programme ‘Desh droh’, telecast on March 6 and again the following day.
The SGPC chief said the telecast was aimed at creating hatred, suspicion and ill will for the community.
“It was an attempt to denigrate Sikhs and show them to be anti-national,” said former SGPC Secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta.
He demanded an unconditional and public apology by the channel and threatened to file a defamation suit against it if it failed to do so.
Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee President Harvinder Singh Sarna, in a communication to the Union Minister of State for Home, said the programme was a plan to show Sikhs in bad light.
Akali Dal (Delhi) President Paramjit Singh Sarna, in a press note, said it could represent the personal opinion of a few, but not the entire Sikh community.
He added that it was intended to create a fear psychosis and revive the spectre of terrorism.
Akali Dal (Amritsar) General Secretary Ram Singh alleged that the programme was a conspiracy by Hindutva elements to defame Sikhs.
Ropar: All-India Shiromani Akali Dal President Jaswant Singh said on Wednesday that the party would file a writ in the Supreme Court against the channel which had telecast a programme on terrorism in Punjab and shown interviews of various persons raising the demand for Khalistan.
The Home Ministry and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry would be made party in the case for allowing such programmes to be broadcast, he added.
Addressing a press conference here, he said the telecast of the programme had hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs in India and abroad.
Police for check on anti-national telecasts: The Punjab Police chief, Mr S.S. Virk, in a communication addressed to the State Home Secretary, has objected to the contents of the programme describing it as “highly distorted and mischievously motivated presentation about the Punjab problem with the observation that the movement for Khalistan is still simmering and is not over as yet.”
“Some forces have, however, started raising the bogey of terrorism as part of their sinister game plan to create panic, disillusionment and demoralisation in the public in order to put hurdles in the path of the economic recovery. The telecast of this show,” wrote Mr Virk,” was highly seditious as well as misleading. It is also likely that this issue is picked up by some other channels and a section of the media for discussions as a result of which this issue, which though totally irrelevant, dormant and out of public memory today may regain relevance. The state, which is totally peaceful today, may become the target of the commercial rat race of the media.”
The police wants the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to create a regulatory authority which should monitor all such sensitive programmes and “deny permission to telecast issues which are intended to spread sedition and separatism or disorder of any kind.”