Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Malda Violence and Main Stream Media


Is main stream media in India is selective and biased when reporting lunatic fringe elements of majority Hindu community? I was reading an article by Rajdeep Sardesai celebrity anchor of TV Today evening prime time show. Mr. Sardesai certainly thinks media is impartial. But consider this, following abominable lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq main stream media went berserk and wanted answer from the prime minister of India. Many renowned authors, cinestars, artists and politicians from secular parties declared India has become intolerant for minorities. Many wanted prime minister to answer. Many of us moderate Hindus agreed that killing of Akhlaq was the most unfortunate thing that could have happened in Mr Modi’s rule. Coupled with ban of beef eating, ghar wapsi, love jihad, killing of intellectual etc all represented a state of India where only majority ideas dominated.

Then recently happened another incident in Malda, West Bengal. A mob of muslim men, some say 20000 some say 1.5 lac, were intimated to gather in Malda. Pamphlets were circulated in advance to call people. Idea was to protest prophanity uttered against prophet Mohammad by a Hindu extremist leader. The incident had happened in another state, it had happened nearly a month before. The perpetrator of blasphemy was in jail. Yet the mob gathered, destroyed public property, torched police thana and burnt BSF truck.

Strangely, all voices that claimed India has become intolerant remained quiet. Some people, including chief minister of Bengal, claimed since this was not a fight between Hindus and Muslims, and since not one had died, the incidence does not qualify to be a communal event. Nevertheless it was a show of strength by a group to force their way. 

Such minority violence is not new to West Bengal. Remember Park Street riot to protest against Tasleema Nasrin’s book? How many were arrested, how many prosecuted? Probably none. Secular CPM was ruling in state and UPA II was in centre. Secular UPA government did not even grant resident status of Ms. Nasreen.


Did media, celebrities, writers and artists worry about intolerance of minority groups? The same set of people that jumped on BJP after horrible rape of an elderly nun, did not even bother to apologise after the actual perpetrator was arrested. Now same set of people want us to believe that Dadri violence and Malda violence cannot be equated.

In the name of justice and secularism main stream media projects a blinkered view, at the expense of maintaining neutrality. Deafening silence of the civil society on minority violence further reinforces the view that protest that manifested itself all through the year, was a manufactured one aimed at stopping BJP from coming to power. Such acts result in emboldening of majority fringe elements.
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