The Supreme Court on Monday refused to quash multiple FIRs lodged against television news anchor Amish Devgan over his allegedly defamatory remarks against Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna, however, banded together the complaints filed against Devgan in different states and transferred them to Ajmer in Rajasthan. About 7 FIRs were registered against the news anchor in connection with the case in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
The apex court has extended the interim protection from any coercive action, which was granted to the News18 anchor on July 8, on a condition that he continues to assist in the investigation.
Journalist Amish Devgan mistakenly refers to Moinuddin Chisti as “lootera” while talking about Alauddin Khilji
Devgan found himself in hot water after he referred to Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chisti as “lootera” while hosting a show on June 15 about the Place of Worship Special Provision Act on his show ‘Aar Par’. Amish Devgan was seen referring to Chishti as an invader who had tortured and forcefully converted the Hindus of India. However, Devgan later apologized saying that he had mistakenly named Chishti in place of Alauddin Khilji. Following the show, several police complaints and FIRs were filed against the anchor in various parts of the country.
Citing it to be an inadvertent error, Amish Devgan had tendered an apology on Twitter a day after the show was telecasted, saying he was referring to Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji and had mistakenly named Chisti, also known as Khwaja Gareeb Nawaaz (benefactor of the poor). The journalist also added in his tweet that he has himself sought the saint’s blessings in the past.
“I sincerely apologise for this grave error and the anguish it may have caused to followers of the Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti, whom I revere,” he had said. “I have in the past sought blessings at his dargah. I regret this error.”
As many as 7 FIRs had been filed against the journalist in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra & Telangana. The FIRs stipulated offences under Sections 153A(promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 153G, 295A(deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298, 505(statements conducing to public mischief), 34(acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of Indian Penal Code & 66(f) of the Information Technology Act.