Media

Hindustan Times’ Hate Tracker: A classic case of how media peddles an agenda

On 28th July, 2017, Hindustan Times introduced a “Hate Tracker” which is “a national database on crimes in the name of religion, caste, race”. They even have an option where you could “submit” a hate “incident” which shall be added to their database only if it meets their “editorial criteria”. Interestingly, their source till now has only been articles published by Hindustan Times.

Since little over three years, the Indian media has woken up to “hate crimes” or “identity-based hate crimes” in India. There can be no justification for any sort of hate crime. On similar lines, there should be no discrimination in reporting hate crimes. But it seems expecting fairness in reporting news by reputed media houses is also too much to ask for.

The “hate tracker” reports 14 “hate crimes” for the month of July 2017. They have reported articles where majority of the “victims” are Muslims and Dalits.

There’s a catch, though.

Hate crimes against people belonging to certain political or religious inclination are conveniently ignored, and so are crimes perpetrated by people belonging to certain political or religious ideology.

Scientist and columnist Anand Ranganathan was one of the first one to spot and point out this obvious bias. His thread on Twitter exposes this chicanery by Hindustan Times:

Frankly this is not surprising since there has always been a section of “liberals” who even denied that a mob attacked the train in Godhra where 59 Hindu karsevaks returning from Ayodhya were burnt alive.

Speaking of hate crimes against people belonging to certain religion, which failed to make it to Hindustan Times’ database, here are a few of those:

On 31st July, 2017, a group of Kanwariyas were attacked where one person was killed in the attack. Kanwariyas are Shiva disciples who make annual pilgrimages to various places in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Bihar to fetch holy water of Ganga river. The holy month of Shravan is when the pilgrimage is undertaken. This is not included in the “hate tracker” of Hindustan Times.

Attack on Kaanwariyas because of their faith is not rare actually, however you would believe that it does not exist if you look at Hindustan Times “database”. In July itself, many such incidents were reported, including the one in Bareilly of Uttar Pradesh where Muslims attacked kaanwariyas for passing through “their area”.

While we are on the topic of attacks on Hindu pilgrims, conveniently ignored by the “hate tracker”, remember Amarnath Yatra Attacks on the first day of holy Shravan? It was not “hateful” enough to be part of the “hate tracker”.

Then on 2nd July, 2017, in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh, a personal fight turned communal when one Kamil Raza and his friends threw casteist slurs at one Sunil and his friends who belong to the Dalit community. On 7th July, 2017, in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, youth belonging to Muslim community attacked youth belonging to Dalit community, following which there was communal tension in the area. Even though these crimes have overtly communal elements, they couldn’t find their way into the Hindustan Times “database” which might well be quoted by international organisations soon. That’s how the “ecosystem” works.

And these are the incidents from just last few weeks. Since the “Hate Tracker” is tracking hate crimes since September, 2015, here are some of the crimes they missed. In November, 2015, 23 year old Gaurav was killed in an alleged scuffle with his Muslim neighbours who objected to Diwali firecrackers. In January, 2016, 17 year old Saavan Rathod was burnt alive by Muslims after he identified himself as a Hindu — a typical hate crime, ignored by Hindustan Times.

The hate is not just limited when victims are Hindus. Earlier in March, one H. Farooq, who identified himself as an atheist and a free thinker, was killed by radical Muslim group, and ignored by HT.

Hindustan Times “Hate Tracker” not only ignores hate crimes based on caste and religion, but also political ideologies. On 29th July, 2017, Rajesh, an RSS worker in Kerala, was hacked to death allegedly by CPM (Communist Party of India-Marxist) workers. Similarly, in January, 2017, a BJP worker, Ezhuthan Santhosh, was killed by suspected communists. And these are two of the dozens of murders of RSS/BJP workers in Kerala allegedly by CPM workers.

Nope, not hateful enough to be part of the “Hate Tracker”.

Why is just selective hate being tracked and documented? As a media organisation, which has taken the onus upon itself to hold the government accountable to eliminate hate crimes, why is the outrage one sided? Who benefits from this whitewashing of crimes against Hindus?

As a citizen, I feel betrayed by the media houses for not showing me the balanced, true and fair picture.

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