Established by a young and dynamic journalist Shams Tabrez Qasmi in 2016, Millat Times (MT) is a trilingual online news portal and YouTube channel. Its Urdu version is especially one of the most viewed news portals of India. With its headquarters in Delhi, MT publishes news in three languages – English, Urdu and Hindi – and also runs a YouTube channel with the same name. Millat Times runs under the Millat News Network Private Limited. Its Urdu version is most viewed in India. It also has a large readership in Gulf countries. It covers news, articles, interviews, ground reports and features on society, Indian minority, national and global affairs and, on issues related to Muslim countries and Urdu language and literature. It mainly focuses on the themes which are generally ignored by the mainstream media and news TV channels.
Establishment of MT
Millat Times was launched at the hand of Maulana Rabey Hasani Nadwi, president of All India Muslim Personal Law Board and rector of Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow in Mumbai on January 18, 2016. In April 2016, MT launched its English news portal whose founding member and editor is Mr Md Irshad Aiyub. On completion of one year, it launched its mobile App at the hands of senior journalists of Delhi on January 19, 2017. With an interview of Barrister Asaduddin Owaisi, Shams Tabrez Qasmi began its YouTube channel in July, 2017. It also started its Hindi news portal in 2018 whose founding editor was late Md. Qaisar Siddiqui. After sudden demise of Md. Qaisar Siddiqui on October 24, 202, the Hindi version is now being edited by Mr Asrar Ahmad. MT’s Urdu version is being edited by Md. Zafar Siddiqui.
Other portals and channels of MT
To cover local news, MT has also launched numerous news portals. One of them is Mewat Times, the online news portal and YouTube channel being edited by Md. Sufiyan. Another local news portal is Sitamadhi Times which was started by late Md. Qaisar Siddiqui. After his demise, it is now being edited by Muzaffar Alam and Saqib Raza. Apart from them, MT also runs a separate Hindi news portal by the name of JJP News with its editor being Mr Shahnawaz Nazmi. For the historical and informative videos, MT runs a yet another YouTube channel with the name History of Islam. Urdu Talk is also a YouTube channel of MT which publishes videos on Urdu literature and is edited by Zamurrin Faruq. For the religious affairs, MT has launched a website and YouTube channel with the name of Madinah TV Urdu. All these portals and YouTube channels are running under the umbrella of Millat News Network Private Limited.
Founder and CEO of MT
The founder and CEO of MT is Mr Shams Tabrez Qasmi who has a Fazilat degree from Darul Uloom Deoband and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Mr Qasmi is also an executive member of the oldest organization of Indian journalists, Press Club of India. He also worked as media co-ordinator of the renowned think-tank of India, the Institute of Objective Studies, which has an affiliation to the Human Rights Department of the United Nations Organization. Before that, he also worked with the renowned news agency INS India as an editor. His weekly column ‘Pas-e-Aainah’ is much liked in the Urdu newspapers. He has received numerous awards and honours for his services to journalism.
Millat Times is known for fair and fearless journalism and for highlighting issues without bending to any pressure. The primary agenda of MT is to highlight the issues, which are generally ignored by the mainstream media and big news television channels, or the hidden truth of certain incidents. Along with the online portals, the MT also has its readership in millions. Khabar Dar Khabar, Khas Mulaqat, Interviews, Ground Reports, Public Opinions, Saday-e-Naujawan, Special Reports and other similar programmes are hugely popular on the YouTube. MT has covered a number of stories, which have impact on the Indian government, administration, society, religious organizations, important personalities as well as the mainstream media. Most of the Indian Urdu newspapers copy the news and articles of MT. Even foreign Urdu web portals and newspapers publish the Indian news on their international page with reference to MT.
Effective stories of MT
Among the significant stories of MT is the truth of Ishrat Jahan who knocked at the door of the Supreme Court against the triple talaq, which the media had kept concealed for months and made a negative propaganda against Islam. The truth was that the Kolkata-based Ishrat Jahan was never divorced by her husband Murtaza Ansari.
The report of Sitamarhi riots and lynching of Zainul Ansari was too first published by MT with all the required evidences on the YouTube and the Hindi web portal. The government of Bihar and Hindi media had concealed this incident and declared the viral picture as fake. After the report was published in the MT the then Sitamarhi SP, Vikas Barma accepted the truth that the 80-year-old Zainul Ansari had really been assassinated by the mischief mongers over there. Later on, the renowned online news portal The Quint, the Wire and other web portals also accepted in their findings that the reporting of the MT was true. Twenty days following the incident, The Indian Express daily also published this news on its front page. Later on, it was also covered by NDTV and BBC. Senior journalist Ravish Kumar also mentioned this lynching incident in his Prime Time Show. Before that, the Crime Branch of Bihar served a notice to MT saying, with reference to Article 91 of IPC, that the video report regarding the Sitamadhi riots and lynching of Zainul Ansari published on the Face book page and YouTube channel was a threat to the law and order situation, and therefore it should be immediately removed. The MT refused to accept it. But later on, it was deleted by the Face book and YouTube themselves.
On December 15, 2020, the Delhi Police manhandled the students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and attacked on them inside the university library. The incident was condemned throughout the world. Earlier during the anti-CAA protests on 13 December, the police had manhandled the students of JMI and shot tear gases at them. MT reporter Munawwar Alam was physically present on the spot on both days. He did a ground zero live reporting and the live streaming of the MT on Face book and YouTube for the first time witnessed a views in millions. Owing to tear gas, Mr Alam suffered difficulties for many days. During the reporting, he too was attacked and stopped by the police for quite a few times.
The February 2020 riots of north-east Delhi too was first reported by MT. On February 24, 25 and 26, numerous reporters of the MT did reporting from ground zero where the riot was going on. During the reporting the MT reporter Asrar Ahmad and camera operator Md Masoom were also attacked by the mischief mongers. The camera was snatched and violence was meted out on them. Yet the reporting continued by the MT. On February 24, the riot was being reported only on the MT, while the national media and TV channels had kept their focus on the ‘Namaste Trump’ programme. It was only in the morning of 25 February when the national media reported this incident. Apart from that, it was only MT which showed the reports on the mosques which were fully or partially demolished or damaged by the mischief mongers.
MT also played a significant role in highlighting and taking the Shaheen Bagh Protest to the threshold of the mainstream media. The MT covered this historic protest from the first to the last. The video recordings of many protesting women done by the MT went hugely viral on the social media. Later, other channels and YouTubers reached them.
Once construction of a mosque was stopped by the Bajrang Dal activists at one place in the Champaran district of Bihar. Following its report by the MT, police reached the spot and got the mosque constructed under their supervision.
On October 30, 2020, 22-year-old Gulnaz Khatun was burnt alive by the mischief mongers in the Vaishali district of Bihar who succumbed to death after seventeen days. This incident was continuously ignored by the mainstream media. But the MT chief editor Shams Tabrez Qasmi reached the main spot and showed the reality to the world.
Likewise, protest against Tariq Fateh in the Jashn-e-Rekhta and meeting of Maulana Salman Nadwi with Shri Shri Ravi Shankar and the advising to quit Babri Masjid and many such issues were effectively reported by MT, and the administration took notice of it. During the last five years, more than hundred such pieces of news were published on all the platforms of MT which impacted the national and international media, government, administration and society, thereby creating a history in itself.
Legal notice against MT
In April 2018, a Deoband-based book trader Maulana Nadeemul Wajidi served a legal notice against six officials of MT including its chief editor Shams Tabrez Qasmi, demanding fifty lakh rupess. Labeling the charge of terrorism, the notice described the MT as a threat to the national security of the country. The claimant had appealed the government and the judiciary to launch a high-level investigation against the MT and seize its portal. Apart from them, many other serious charges were posed on it. Maulana Wajidi had even reached the Deoband police station to file a case against MT, but the HSO did not pay heed to it. Responding to the notice, the legal team of MT denied the allegations. Explaining the reason of serving the notice, Maulana Wajidi wrote that the bereau chiefs of MT Mr Amir Zafar Qasmi and Mr Md Qaisar Siddiqui shared an article on their Face book walls, which caused damage to his image. Thus, he served a notice against MT and its six officials including the chief editor, labelling serious allegations and demanding investigation.
On October 31, Bihar crime branch served a notice to MT and demanded to delete the video of Sitamadhi lynching incident from its Face book page and YouTube channel. The notice read that the video was a threat to the law and order situation. The MT rejected this notice and told the administration that it had shown only what was true. Controlling the law and order situation was the responsibility of the administration, while MT is committed to acquaint the public with the truth; and therefore, it would continue doing so. Apart from that, the MT has received legal notices from a number of BJP leaders and police administration. However, the MT continued its journey of exploring the truth.
The daily readership of Millat Times is more than one lakh, whereas it sometimes becomes in million. In the year 2020, the readership of MT crossed the milestone of six millions only in five days. On July 26, 2017, the Urdu portal of MT was visited by about two million people only in one day. The subscribers of the YouTube channel of MT are more than eight lakh, while tens of its videos were viewed by one million people. The Facebook page is followed by more than five lakh users and its posts are viewed by lakhs of people. One report of MT of the Delhi riot was viewed by lakhs of people on Face book, WhatsApp and other social media platforms. Apart from India, the MT also has its regular readership in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Britain and America.
The Millat Times works under the registered company ‘Millat News Network Private Limited’. Most of the journalists associated with it work with a remarkable enthusiasm to serve the country through journalism.