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24hr news channel for Sindhis: HC seeks Centre's response

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

High today sought the government's response on a plea seeking directions to Doordarshan to start a 24-hour channel for the Sindhi community which claims to be a linguistic minority.

Justice V P Vaish issued notice to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and Doordarshan and sought their replies on the plea by an NGO which claims to be working towards "preserving and promoting the 5000 years old Sindhi culture and language".

"Examine the issue and file an affidavit," the said and listed the matter for further hearing on January 22, 2016.

Central government standing counsel Anil Soni while opposing the plea told the that there were around 122 languages in the country and it would be difficult to provide a channel for each one of them.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for NGO Sindhi Sangat, said several representations were sent to the ministry since 2008 to consider starting a 24-hour channel for the community, but had said it was not feasible due to "serious resource crunch and staff shortage".

Jethmalani contended that several 24-hour channels were being operated, at a loss, for other linguistic minorities and since the government was bearing the losses, therefore "unconstitutional discrimination is being done against the Sindhi community".

"The Government of India is taking innumerable steps to promote other minorities whereas the Sindhi community does not find place in any of the policies of the government which conduct is in teeth of Article 14 of the Constitution.

"The petitioner (NGO) and several other respectable members of Sindhi community are extremely outraged against this discriminatory and step-motherly treatment meted-out to the Sindhi community," the petition filed through advocate Ashish Dixit said.

First Published: Fri, September 04 2015. 18:57 IST