A week ago, four young men boarded the train after having done some Eid shopping and was looking forward to the upcoming festivities. Shortly into their train ride, they got into fight over seat sharing with some other men who shortly boarded the train after them. Unfortunately as the fight progressed, things quickly got out of hand and Junaid Khan became the victim of a unfortunate stabbing. A few nights earlier a DSP standing guard outside of Srinagar mosque on the auspicious night of power, was brutally stripped and stoned to death mercilessly till his body and face were completely disfigured.
While both of these were horrendous acts and deserve to be condemned equally what has been surprising is the deafening silence in one case and the overwhelming condemnation by the media in the next. It seems that every day the rousing chorus of the media seems to really focus on what happened to Junaid Khan while selectively blocking out other equally horrendous crimes. The prime instigating reason seems to be a fight over seat sharing and this triggered a media avalanche of disinformation. Media houses the world over have been continually harping on the fact that the main reason he was killed was because he was Muslim and a ‘cow eater’.Interviews and reports from Junaids family suggest that even they are quite upset with the emphasis placed on his ‘beef eater’ comments rather than his violent death on the train.
What began as a argument leading to a homicidal attacks by two groups was labeled by the media as a communal attack by majority Hindus on Muslims again. This is not just isolated to Indian media houses but a majority of international news houses as well.
However Mohammed Ayub Pandit has been offered really no media coverage at all. From a horrific assault on one of the holiest nights of the Islamic calendar where 200 people outside a mosque lynched him, no such soul-searching can ever take place. The simple fact is Mohammed Ayub Pandit, (probably mistaken for a Kashmiri Hindu Pandit on account of his name) was assaulted by a large mob and brutally beaten into this dis recognition.
One of the prime opinion pieces by Nazir Masoodi a NDTV reporter suggested that the reason this occurred, was sorely the fault of the Jammu and Kashmir police for the amount of mistrust that they have created with the local populace. He goes on to list specific cases where criminals were not brought to justice in some form of confused rationalization.
Indeed he quotes ‘that police have not covered themselves with glory with regular reports of custodial torture of youth involved in stone-pelting, the humiliation of families and allegations of ransom. They have become judge, jury, and some would say, hangman.’
We can already see here some clear outcomes as to the agenda set by various media houses to propagate their own version of events. A fight started because of seat sharing is branded as a attack by majority Hindus on minorities because of ‘cow eating’, while a equally horrific event of a Muslim mob butchering a fellow Muslim on the streets of Kashmir is rationalized into an acceptable form of justice.
From Kashmir to Kerala such incidents are not uncommon but again barely reported. Choorokad Bijju, is the latest in the series of political murders who was beheaded in customary ISIS fashion in broad daylight on the streets of Kannur Kerala. Unfortunately Bijju’s death has not had much political reporting for the simple reason his death was political and he was a Hindu. So far eight political murders have occurred in Kannur Kerala but no soul-searching can be found here. Kannur Kerala is a increasingly radicalized area with several suspects who are linked to ISIS have recently been arrested.
Even more recently a Hindu boy in Guntur Andhra Pradesh SriSai was hammered with hockey sticks and cricket bats before being tied to a tree and stoned to death. SriSai’s only fault was to fall in love with a Muslim girl Jasmine. Upon finding out the relationship, Jasmine’s family provoked her into suicide and then decided to execute SriSai in the customary Islamic form for adultery. However none of this news has ever made the mainstream especially NDTV.
In the United States with Trump’s recent election win, there has been a spate of Indian killings with the most prominent being Srinivas Kuchibotla who was shot in a Kansas bar by a white American. However even though he yelled a bunch of epithets as well prior to shooting Srinivas in the chest, none of the international media seem to characterize this attack as rising evangelism under Trump and the intolerance of Christian America.
Why the sudden surge in selective reporting against the Modi led government? It is quite well known, that many media organizations in India have come under severe financial strain with the closure of thousands of NGO’s with discreet foreign funding. Many of these organizations remain partial to some religious affiliations in order to further their cause in India. Close to 11000 NGO’s have not had their licenses renewed. Prominent Ngo’s like Catholic Charity Caritas have had their licenses revoked for funding groups ‘that were against the country’.
The recent crackdown on NDTV by the CBI has clearly had the media organization shaken. From almost declaring bankruptcy to a huge revival during the UPA regime, it’s CEO has recently come under the media spotlight again for tax evasion and suspected money laundering. From a huge financial loss of almost 248 crore at the start of the UPA regime in 2004 to a gross revenue of over 417 crore via multiple shell subsidiary companies in 2008, they now cry witch-hunt when raided by the CBI. Indeed it’s CEO and prime staff would gladly wish back the days when the UPA ran the government and multiple scams were part of the norm.
Daily horrific attacks are a unfortunate reality of today’s society. India however does not deserve the media backlash it has received for being a fanatic state. For centuries, India and Hindus have sheltered the last communities of Zoroastrians. Tibetans and Bahai’s persecuted in their lands have found a home in India. Muslim Ahmediyyas freely worship here. Hindus protected the Syrian Christians from the backlash of Catholics. The list goes on. More recently the supreme court of India awakened to the midnight plea of Yakub Memon who instigated the Mumbai blasts. As I write this various suspects linked to Junaid Khans stabbing have been arrested and like the rest will face justice in the Indian justice system.
As much as foreign media organizations would serve to malign us, take into account the fact for a billion people India still has a homicide rate less than the US and half of Pakistan. While the unintentional death of anyone is a tragic event, what is more tragic and in bad taste is the political mileage made of such a tragedy.
Sabke Sath, Sabke Vikas!