Ex-CEC Quraishi shares letter of Vasant Valley Alumni to 'clamp down on hatred'
New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi on Monday shared a letter by the Vasant Valley Alumni urging Aroon Purie, founder of the school and TV Today Group to clamp down on the hatred emanating from airwaves and hold accountable those who openly engage in communal polarisation under the garb of news reportage.
Quraishi shared the letter on X (formerly Twitter), saying: "Hope Purie doesn't consider closing down the school or changing the principal to one Prof Sudhir Chaudhary."
In letter to Purie, the Alumni of Vasant Valley said: "We write to you today as the alumni of Vasant Valley School. The India Today Group are founders of Vasant Valley School and TV Today owns and operates multiple television channels including India Today and Aaj Tak. This is an association that many of us as Alumni have been incredibly proud of, given India Today's historical legacy in holding the powerful to account even during some of our Country's darkest days, including the Emergency, the 1984 Delhi Riots, the 2002 Gujarat Riots, to name just a handful of instances."
The letter said that "it is within the educational institution that you founded, that we learned and internalized our Constitutional principles of freedom, justice, equality, liberty, and fraternity".
Yet, regrettably, it is these same values that are being undermined constantly by many within the India Today ecosystem.
"Our only ask in the following letter is that as Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the India Today Group, you clamp down on the hatred emanating from your airwaves and hold accountable those that openly engage in communal polarisation under the garb of news reportage," the letter read.
It also highlighted the glorious reporting by the India Today Group.
"However, it is extremely concerning to see the polarising tenor of some of India Today's news anchors, particularly on Aaj Tak. 50+ panchayats have issued boycotts against the Muslim community in the aftermath of these riots. Bulldozer justice, which saw 1,200+ structures demolished, has become the tool to inflict retribution against Muslims after any communal incident. Instead of questioning the establishment over this tactic which is an embarrassment to the rule of law, primetime anchors have often justified these actions, cheering on the deliverance of collective punishment. In these times, we look towards organizations such as India Today to provide situational clarity, demand accountability, and douse the flames of communal hatred, rather than fanning its embers," it stated.
It further stated that instead, we find that some of the commentary is extremely reductive, devoid of nuance, and does nothing to hold those in power accountable.
"It is as one of Aaj Tak's shows is titled, 'Black and White'," it read.
It also said that media complicity was spelt out by the CRPF officer who killed 4 innocent men, 3 of them based on their appearance.
"The officer justified his actions while carrying out this terrorist attack, citing the dog whistles he heard on news television. If the spate of communal incidents across the country isn't a wake-up call, at least the ethnic strife and civil war-like situation in Manipur should serve as a lens into the disaster that polarisation can impart upon us," it stated.
"Our school environment nurtured within us values of inclusivity, empathy and responsibility. You don't owe us any answers, nor are we writing this to demand an explanation. Our only hope is that some of the values that were instilled within us as students, through our teachers, the school administration, our peers, and indeed Mrs. Purie, find their way back to the India Today newsrooms," it added.