BHOPAL: India’s leading newspaper The Times of India, which is hardly known for promoting factual and objective journalism, sunk to a new low when it tried to project a Shia-Sunni riot in Madhya Pradesh as a Hindu-Muslim riot.
Indian media is known to spin reports of communal violence in a way that Hindus always appear aggressors and oppressors, but now they are aiming to reach new levels by making Hindus appear aggressors and oppressors even when they are not involved in the violence.
The Shia-Sunni violence took place in Bhopal yesterday when Sunni residents attacked Shia residents, who had recently moved in the area after buying land.
This report published in the Hindustan Times makes it clear that the fighting groups belonged to two sects of the same community, although it still doesn’t clarify which sect and which community. But the names of the victims give it away.
Now, look at this report published in The Times of India. It says “Sectarian violence erupted in the city with over 60 houses of a minority community torched by a mob on Thursday.”
The report then quotes people whose houses were torched and they obviously have Muslim names. But nowhere else in the report, it is made clear that the mob that torched the houses belonged to the same community.
In absence of such a clarification, the reader is forced to conclude that Muslims were attacked by Hindus. Many Congress supporters on Twitter were quick to share the Times of India report because it happened in a BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh.
Little did they realize that the Hindustan Times report blames a Congress leader for this violence.
In fact, when Congress supporters on Twitter were pointed out by people living in Bhopal that this was not a Hindu-Muslim violence, they rejected those claims as “propaganda” choosing to believe what Times of India misleadingly conveyed.
It was only after people shared the Hindustan Times report that the Congress supporters decided to drop the issue.
This clearly proves how media can twist facts and present a picture that is nowhere near reality. If Hindustan Times had also decided to follow this “politically correct” way of reporting, Hindus would have again been painted as aggressors and oppressors in an incident where they had no role to play.