‘Fatah Ka Fatwa’ hosted by Tarek Fatah promoting enmity? Delhi HC seeks govt’s reply on plea to halt Zee News show


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the government’s response on a plea to immediately halt all future episodes of Zee News series ‘Fatah Ka Fatwa’ hosted by controversial Canadian writer of Pakistani origin Tarek Fatah, alleging that it promoted enmity between communities.

Photo: Twitter

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal also issued notice to the television channel asking them to respond to the plea.

The bench asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to place before it whether there was any substance in the allegation levelled by the petitioner and fixed the matter for further consideration on May 1.

The court issued the direction during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) by Advocate Hifzur Rehman Khan, who alleged that the TV programme tried to promote enmity between Muslims and non-Muslims in the country by giving “baseless arguments about religion”.

Asking the court to seize all materials relating to the programme, the PIL urged that the authorities concerned be asked to frame guidelines for telecast of such TV shows, alleging that the host “placed misleading facts” on television.

Controversial issues like triple talaq, Uniform Civil Code, status of women in Islam are debated in ‘Fatah Ka Fatwa’, which was first aired on January 7. Critics argue hateful and insensitive statements that often hurt religious sentiments of Muslims are made in this programme.

The first episode of the debate got uglier when the two panelists lost cool and exchanged heated arguments which was uncivilised and mannerless.

Fatah was allegedly forced to leave Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for his controversial views about both countries. A section of Indians consider him as the poster boy right wing groups. He has a large Right-Wing support base on Twitter, which has now been extended into brick and mortar as well.

In 2016, he was invited to participate in Right-Wing intellectual summits such as the India Ideas Conclave, hosted by the India Foundation, a body with strong ties to the Modi government, as well as the Jaipur Dialogues, hosted by a senior bureaucrat working for the BJP government of Rajasthan, said a report published on Scroll.in.

Fatah’s harsh stand against the Muslim community came to the notice of India’s Right Wing which is looking to expand its intellectual footprint in India in the wake of Narendra Modi’s win in the 2014 general elections.

On Sunday, Fatah was manhandled at the Jashn-e-Rekhta, a festival of Urdu, in Delhi. He gagged for his divergent views.

On the final day of the three-day festival, a group of over 40 attendees raised slogans and demanded that Tarek Fatah be removed from the premises. Following the incident, police personnel were called in.

Speaking to Times Now, the activist blamed the organisers and the policemen for the ruckus, claimed they refused to intervene even as he was being attacked and assaulted by a mob.

“A few people at the Urdu festival came to me for autographs and pictures. This upset some people there. Very soon, orchestrated group of around 100 people surrounded me. They were kicking me and beating me up from all sides. I was all alone in this. The organisers instead of intervening stayed away. And, the police instead of stopping those who were attacking me, tried to throw me out of the festival. People talk about freedom of expression but when it comes to reality, their fascism and contempt for difference of opinion is quite evident,” he said.

(With PTI inputs)