Sunday, May 07, 2006

Media fanning communal riots

A perfect example of fanning fear thru half-truths, is the following article
by Seema Mustafa published in Asian Age....



"The Ugly Indian was at it again in Gujarat. The mobs were out in Baroda
this time, simply because the Muslims had dared to raise their voice against
the demolition of a 300-year old dargah. How dare they even speak, was the
message flashed down to the mobs that owe allegiance in Gujarat to its chief
minister Narendra Modi; and the same Vishwa Hindu Parishad chaps, the same
Bajrang Dalis, the same dirty policemen, the same administration had within
minutes joined hands to wreak terror on the streets of Baroda. Helpless
citizens of India spent a night in abject terror, calling every number they
knew and receiving no response except hate-filled messages from the police
control room, "Go to Pakistan." The mobs moved around freely, threatening,
burning a young man alive in his vehicle, indulging in rampant arson, while
the police insisted that there was no threat to the minorities, and Baroda
was as peaceful as it possibly could be"


Full text:

State of Fear
- By Seema Mustafa



There is something about Union home minister Shivraj Patil that makes it
appear that each time he speaks, the words are being dragged out of him. His
is an amazingly successful impersonation of the reluctant maiden, which
would have been fine had he not been the home minister of India. No one can
fault Mr Patil on his appearance, with every crease and strand of hair in
place. But the "there is nothing wrong, and if there is, it is being taken
care of" attitude does not inspire confidence, particularly as he manages to
completely play down the importance of the situation in the process, and
reduces government reaction to a non-assertive response. Unfortunately, the
attitude plays on the officials as well, with the government machinery under
the home minister now appearing uncertain as to whether it should be
"seized" of the situation, or whether it should follow the natty Mr Patil’s
lead in insinuating that there is actually no situation at all to be seized
about. One has to commend the home secretary, V.K. Duggal, for following a
straight and narrow official line, and at least trying to fill in all the
blanks created by his minister.

This is not to say that one expects the home minister to flap, but that he
should at least be convincing in his authority. Unfortunately, the
television persona is the same that meets Opposition leaders and delegations
that meet him on issues as important and as varied as Gujarat, the
Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir. "It is fine, we are doing all that we can, the
situation will not remain uncontrolled, it will be controlled," says the
home minister (or words to that effect). How? "Well, it is being worked out,
we are in touch, we are talking to them, we will see what we can do," is the
response. Those listening to him cannot be blamed for not exactly being
infused with confidence.

The Ugly Indian was at it again in Gujarat. The mobs were out in Baroda this
time, simply because the Muslims had dared to raise their voice against the
demolition of a 300-year old dargah. How dare they even speak, was the
message flashed down to the mobs that owe allegiance in Gujarat to its chief
minister Narendra Modi; and the same Vishwa Hindu Parishad chaps, the same
Bajrang Dalis, the same dirty policemen, the same administration had within
minutes joined hands to wreak terror on the streets of Baroda. Helpless
citizens of India spent a night in abject terror, calling every number they
knew and receiving no response except hate-filled messages from the police
control room, "Go to Pakistan." The mobs moved around freely, threatening,
burning a young man alive in his vehicle, indulging in rampant arson, while
the police insisted that there was no threat to the minorities, and Baroda
was as peaceful as it possibly could be.

This columnist who started receiving messages and telephone calls from
Gujarat from 1 a.m. that night — and for those with the same filthy communal
mindset as the mobs on Baroda’s streets, let me tell you that the calls were
not from Muslims, but from secular and concerned citizens of India
comprising all religions — wanting people here to knock on doors to get some
protection for those "trapped" in Baroda. "They will be butchered, the mobs
are threatening a repeat of 2002" the messages screamed. And as one almost
tearful activist from Ahmedabad said, "We have no refuge, they can kill us
any time they want, we are here to die, not to live as there is no
protection for us." It is a tragedy, if after over 50 years of independence,
even a single citizen of India has to live for even a moment in complete and
total fear, not of the mobs, but of the Indian state. We all must
collectively hang our heads in shame.

Gujarat might have been controlled this time, because perhaps it did not
suit the Ugly Indian to change the golden star for excellent development
given to him by Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s Planning Commission — with all the
happy progressives on board — for a black mark. But he has happily
demonstrated yet again his control over the mobs and over the unhappy
destiny that he is determining for the people of Gujarat with the full
support of the BJP and the Congress Party. The minorities have to live in
the ghettos he has prepared for them, and accept all that comes their way.
If they — the Muslims, the Christians, the tribals — speak out of turn and
demand rights as citizens of India, they will have to bear the price. This
could be a night of abuse, threats; this could be largescale arson and the
burning alive of human beings; this could be 2002 with rape, arson, murder,
mayhem. It is for the Ugly Indian to choose, and for him to decide.

In 2002, the BJP extended total and complete support to the Ugly Indian to
preside over the killing of 2,000 citizens of India. The frightening thought
is that under the Congress-led coalition today, the man is still in a
position to preside over the killing of as many, if not more Indians in
Gujarat, at a moment of his choosing and with complete absence of remorse.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh convened a Cabinet meeting the morning after
the night of tension to discuss the developments. Ministers made it clear
that the government could not afford violence in Gujarat without paying a
heavy price. Shivraj Patil was shaken out of his complacent slumber to keep
an hourly watch over Gujarat, tiring and irksome for a minister seeking his
solace in the air-conditioned corridors of 10 Janpath and not the dusty and
hot states of India. But what is frightening is this entire argument that
the Centre cannot do anything, unless the state requisitions it.

An inquiry committee has been set up to look into the demolition of the
dargah. An inquiry committee must also be set up to examine the role of the
police and the administration, to find out how tainted policemen are back in
charge, and how a policeman or even a god for that matter, had the temerity
to ask a citizen of India to "go to Pakistan." As an Army daughter I was
taught early at home to hit out with all the force at my command against
those sick people who kept hounding the Muslims with the "go to Pakistan"
threat. I can only wish the civilian government will learn some lessons from
our struggle for independence (in which the jingoistic nationalists did not
participate), and help those who are feeling too helpless and vulnerable for
no fault of theirs, to hit out hard against those who dare to point a finger
at their identity and their patriotism. The policemen in Baroda should be
brought before the law and made accountable. And so should their patrons in
politicians’ garb. Also, a word of advice for the heir apparent. Leaders are
not made by campaigning for their mothers, but in holding the hands of the
victims of Doda and Gujarat in their hour of strife and grief.

Tailpiece: Pramod Mahajan is dead, and while one is sorry about the manner
in which he died, it is somehow difficult to understand the completely
hysterical media reaction. A weeping media — he was a good source —
virtually canonised the BJP leader and imbued in him many a virtue that was
not very visible when he was alive. Pramod was a dashing personality, but an
ordinary leader who had won only one election out of the three or four he
had contested, useful for sections of the BJP, a good fund-raiser, with
contacts in the corporate world. The media hysteria does raise one question
— if this was the coverage Pramod Mahajan got, 20 of the 24 hours on
television channels, 20 of the 30 pages in newspapers (or some such
figures), then what would we have done if Gandhi had been killed today?
Surely, not much more space would have been made available for him than has
been made available for this very ordinary MP, whose contribution to the
party might be worth a mention, but whose contribution to the nation remains
under a big question mark that even the frenzied media response has not been
able to turn into a halo.

1 comment:

suresh said...

First use terror start by killing their editors.Bomb their offices the will run faster than rats."kill kill"
they will bend.
Strike terror on enemies of hindus.

We should start boycotting shares and products of media company who are anti-hindu.no mercy for our enemy