Imam Bukhari Sends Legal Notice to Arnab Goswami’s ‘Republic’ For Running ‘False’ Story About Jama Masjid

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Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari.

Imam Bukhari said the story was false, baseless, defamatory and malicious and was done to defame him and Jama Masjid as the power of mosque was never cut by the electric supply department.

ABDUL BARI MASOUD | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — Taking a strong notice of the story on the historic Shahi Jama Masjid of Delhi aired by the news channel ‘Republic’, Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari on Saturday sent a strong-worded legal notice to the channel’s promoters and editor Arnab Goswami asking them to tender unconditional apology, and to remove the content of the story from the channel’s website within 15 days. He warned the channel of defamation case, if it fails to comply with the notice.

Under the caption, “Power cut at Jama Masjid”, the channel on August 30, 2017, had repeatedly aired the story that ‘because of non-payments of bills, Jama Masjid’s power was snapped by the Delhi Electricity Department”. The channel also tweeted this on its official Twitter handle the same day “Imam Bukhari has money to buy luxurious cars but can’t pay electricity bills?”

Imam Bukhari said the story was false, baseless, defamatory and malicious and was done to defame him and Jama Masjid as the power of mosque was never cut by the electric supply department.

Talking to the Caravan Daily, Imam Bukhari said he was shocked to see the false and baseless news report being telecast on Republic TV under the caption, “Power cut at Jama Masjid”. “I came to know from my acquaintances that Republic TV has been telecasting a report regarding me and the Jama Masjid. I see a design in it as it was telecast on the very day when the supporters of Baba Gurmeet Singh alias Ram Rahim had unleashed a reign of terror after he was convicted by a special court on rape charges,” he said.

It is said that the story was meant to divert public attention from the violence unleashed by the goons of ‘Baba’ and the embarrassment of the BJP and Sangh leadership on the issue as well as to portray the Muslim religious leaders in a bad light.

“The channel and its editor are known for Muslim bashing and a tilt towards the saffron groups and its ideology. There is no doubt that the news story and tweets were intended to degrade and damage my reputation in general and the Muslim community, in particular as the channel did not bother to verify the facts before airing the story,” he added.

“In respect to the professional and journalistic ethics, at least, they (the channel) should have contacted me to know the side before telecasting such a fabricated report,” he said.

Imam Bukhari sent the notice sent through Diwan Advocates to the editor and others demanding an unconditional apology in writing, and telecast the same in the prime time news slot along with true facts. It also demanded to remove all video/news/contents from the Republic’s website, and its social media account.

The notice stated: “It was expected that as an organization having a wide broadcast television news channel audience, you should have verified the facts before embarking upon such unprofessional and irresponsible statements which are nothing but intended to defame our client. The aforementioned news report is not only a glaring case of false and fake reporting but has also been telecast with malafide intent to adversely affect the image and reputation of our client. Our client states that he has reason to believe that the said news report has been broadcast by you, the noticees, with malicious and mala fide intent to harm our client’s reputation and the same is the part of a large conspiracy against our client. The alleged news report seeks to portray, and does, in fact, portray, a false and incorrect impression about our client in minds of the public at large, where our client holds esteemed reputation”.

The notice further clearly stated that “if the notices fail to comply with these demands, then our client shall be constrained to initiate appropriate proceedings, both civil and criminal, including seeking monetary damages”.

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