A member of Tablighi Jamaat has sent a legal notice to the Managing Director of Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. Vineet Jain, as well as the Editor-in-Chief Jaideep Bose amongst others, seeking for compensation of Rs. 1 crore for a defamatory and inflammatory article published on the Times Now website alleging links with terror outfits.
The notice, sent by Prime Law Associates on behalf of Hafeezulla Khan, states that the members of the Jamaat are law-abiding and have had no run-ins with the law in over 100 years of its existence. The organization has always closely with law enforcement agencies and has ensure procurement of due permission before conducting any programs. "Tablighi Jamaat is an apolitical socio-religious movement working with the Muslim community across the world for increasing their awareness of basic principles of Islam and Prophetic traditions and enable Muslims to live as honest and responsible citizens of the country they live in". The issue in the legal notice arises from the publishing of an article on April 1, 2020 titled "Tablighi Jamaat shares links with terror outfits", wherein it is asserted that "the Tablighi Jamaat has had a long history of ties with Pakistan-based banned terror outfits like Harkat-ul-Mujahideen". It further says that "the original founders of HuM, terror group known for the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight 814 in 1999, were members of Tablighi Jamaat, as per Pakistani security analysts and Indian investigators". The notice categorically denies the allegation by stating that the Jamaat "has never been the subject of any investigation for any connection to terror activities and that the purported linking of the Jamaat to Hum is absolutely malicious. The impugned article goes on to mention that as "as per WikiLeaks documents, some of the 9/11 al-Qaeda suspects detained by the US in Guantanamo Bay had stayed in the premises of the Tablighi Jamaat in Nizamuddin West, New Delhi, several years ago". The notice, on this issue, states: "This is a malicious and baseless attempt to unnecessarily link the suspects to the Tablighi Jamaat without any proof of their relationship. Our client maintains that the Tablighi Jamaat not only has no relations with any terror organization but unequivocally condemns all acts of terror across the world in the harshest possible terms". The article also mentions that "incidentally, Tablighi Jamaat was also suspected to be involved in the burning of 59 Hindi Kar Sevaks in the 2002 Godhra train torching incident in Gujarat, which led to communal rioting in the state that claimed several lives". It is stated in the notice that there is no mention of the Jamaat in the 176-page report of the Nanavati Commission appointed to investigate the Godhra train burning incident. The legal notice asserts that the religious group has never been blacklisted and has never been remotely accused of helping any terrorist organization; the group unequivocally condemns all acts of terror across the world in the harshest possible terms and that the publishing of the article is a deliberate attempt to create enmity against the Tablighi Jamaat in India. "The above article therefore is not only defamatory but is also designed to cause maximum damage to the reputation of our client and promotes enmity and hatred towards all members of the Tablighi Jamaat putting them at the risk of violence". The notice therefore calls upon Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. to publish an unconditional apology stating that the religious organization has no links with terror outfits and to pay liquidated damages in a sum of Rs. 1,00,00,000/- to the client for the horrible mental agonyc caused due to the publishing of the article.
Click Here To Download Notice