The Popular Front of India (PFI), an Islamist extremist organisation has reportedly filed a defamation suit against Republic TV. However, the suit filed by PFI is being seen as a hilarious move as the organisation has been accused of carrying out terror activities in various states of India.
Delhi Court summoned Arnab Goswami
On Thursday, Delhi Court has summoned editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and editor Ananya Verma of Republic TV after PFI sued the media house alleging that the ‘false reporting’ of the channel is tarnishing its image. PFI has also accused News Broadcasters Standards Association of acting as a defendant to the media house.
Additional Civil Judge Sheetal Chaudhary Pradhan of Saket Court, New Delhi, has passed the orders to issue the summons. The suit filed by PFI sought compensation of ₹1 lakh and a permanent restriction on the media house to prevent any reporting on their channel or website that can cause damage to the ‘goodwill’ of the extremist organisation.
PFI stepped in with the decision to sue Arnab Goswami over the news reports by Republic TV in relation to the Darrang firing in Assam.
A news article titled “Darrang Firing: 2 arrested with PFI links, accused of mobilizing crowds for protest” and telecast of the same news by Republic TV in which it was alleged “Assam violence probe: Two PFI men arrested” led PFI extremists to file a case against the former.
The suit claimed, “In the said news article/ telecast, the defendants have made false and frivolous accusations against the plaintiff with the intent to provoke people and to cause prejudice to the name, image and goodwill of the plaintiff.”
“The defendants have deliberately made such libelous, defamatory and derogatory allegations with the motive to defame and malign the image of the plaintiff,” it added.
PFI’s alleged involvement in Darrang violence
It was a few months back when Assam Chief Minister (CM) Himanta Biswa Sarma had hinted at the possibility of the extremist Islamist group’s involvement in the violence that broke out during an eviction drive in Darrang district.
The Assam chief minister had said, “The situation is normal now. As many as 60 families have to be evicted but there were 10,000 people, who brought them…Popular Front of India’s name is emerging in this but I’ll not give any comment till the judicial probe is completed,” as quoted by ANI.
It is pertinent to note that the Assam police along with the district administration had led an eviction drive to vacate 4,500 bighas (602.40 hectares) of government land which was illegally encroached by several hundreds of families of illegal Bangladeshi Muslims.
The Popular Front of India (PFI)
The Popular Front of India (PFI) is an Islamic extremist organisation known to stoke communal discord and subsequent violence across the country. It was formed in 2006, as a successor to National Development Front, and it has been accused of involvement in anti-national and anti-social activities by the Indian Government on several grounds.
During the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests back in 2020, the Uttar Pradesh government blamed the Popular Front of India (PFI) for the violent activities and protests in the state, followed by the Assam government which approached the Centre seeking a ban on the radical Muslim outfit PFI for their active involvement in the violent incidents and vandalism during the anti-CAA protests in the state.
The Kerala government in 2014 had submitted a report claiming 86 PFI’s involvement in the murder and anti-national activities. The central investigating agencies had earlier even found links between PFI and Pakistani spy agency, ISIs. Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Jharkhand had already demanded a ban on PFI by the Home Ministry.
Considering the above instances, it can be said that PFI’s defamation case against Arnab is like pot calling the kettle black. Nonetheless, it is the right of any media house to report the truth irrespective of any status and thus, the Court should prevent from taking any action against the Republic TV.