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Arunachal Pradesh – target of misinformation by media and senior journalists

On 17th January 2016, several media houses carried a report saying that Arunachal Pradesh Governor J P Rajkhowa had cited ‘cow slaughter’ as one sign of law and order collapse in the state, in his report recommending President’s rule in the easternmost state of the country. This became a golden opportunity for media to link the President’s rule with Hindutva propaganda, and Congress and AAP supporters on Social Media used this to full extent, led by able leadership of veteran journalist Shekhar Gupta. He posted these tweets in this regard.

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Note that he uses ‘if’ in both the tweets, means he is not sure whether Arunachal Pradesh Governor has actually said this in his report or not. So what is the fact? The Governor’s report is a confidential report, still somehow some media houses seems have got access to it. So what do those reports say?

Here is the third para from report carried by The Hindu (emphasis mine):

The report, contents of which were accessed by The Hindu, says the first request for invoking Article 356 of the Constitution was made on December 17 by the Governor when demonstrators, led by Mr. Tuki and Speaker Nabam Rebia, “slaughtered a ‘Mithun’ [bovine] in front of Raj Bhavan.” The bovine is considered holy for Hindus. Mr. Rajkhowa also said Mr. Tuki was inciting Nyishi student bodies and other communal organisations against the Governor, referring to his “Assamese roots.” Mr. Tuki also belongs to the Nyishi tribe.

Other media reports are also along this line. From this, it is clear that Governor was not referring to cow slaughter in general as reason for recommending president’s rule, he was referring to a specific incident. On 17th December, when Congress workers were blocking the approach road to Raj Bhavan, they had slaughtered a mithun (also known as gayal, a bovine animal, not to be confused with another bovine gaur) just in front of the gate of Raj Bhavan. Several senior Congress leaders and ministers were present there. It was definitely not a ritualistic animal sacrifice as Shekhar Gupta wants us to believe.

Those were congress workers and leaders protesting in front of Raj Bhavan, not ordinary people performing some religious ritual. Killing an animal is definitely not a non-violent form of protest, and doing so in front of Raj Bhavan is breach of sanctity of the Bhavan. But media reports converted this mention of a specific incident to a generic argument against cow slaughter.

Also, we don’t know whether the report uses the word cow or mithun, but going by The Hindu report, it seems the word ‘Mithun’ was used. But that didn’t prevent Shekhar Gupta from lecturing on the difference between cow and mithun. He also lectured that mithun is reared for meat/sacrifice/barter, while ignoring the fact that this particular case of slaughter was not intended for any of these.

It is interesting that the same people who oppose use of animal in a sport where the animal does not die seem to support killing of animal for a political protest. Also by repeatedly using the term ‘cow slaughter’, is Mr Shekhar Gupta trying to instigate a riot like situation by provoking aggressive elements?


On the same Arunachal Pradesh issue, Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted:

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Of course he is not alone to tweet this line of thought, this is a general theme of tweets from journalists and the so called “adarsh liberals”. His tweet is taken as a representative sample. This tweet implies that BJP is not allowing Congress govt in Arunachal Pradesh prove its majority in assembly and has instead imposed president’s rule.

We know that Rajdeep Sardesai suffers from tyranny of distance when it comes to eastern part of the country, but could he not read few media reports before tweeting this? It is not BJP that is not allowing a vote in assembly, but it is the Congress party. As already mentioned above, Congress party had locked the entry & exit gates of assembly building so that rebel congress MLAs and opposition MLAs can’t enter the building to hold an assembly session. This had forced the rebel MLAs to hold house in other locations to first impeach the speaker, and then to ‘topple’ the govt, which was, of course, not accepted.

The assembly session was scheduled for 14th January, but state govt refused to convene the house. Ultimately on 21st January 2016, six months had elapsed since last assembly session of Arunachal Pradesh, which is violation of article 174(1) constitution of India. This became a constitutional crisis, which is the main reason to impose president’s rule, a fact that media reports and journalists are choosing to ignore.

Also the accusation that BJP engineered the split in Congress is totally baseless. Dissidence among Congress MLAs in Arunachal going on for almost a year now, and since June last year, dissidents met party high command several times demanding change in CM. But Congress central leaders chose to ignore those repeated demands of their own MLAs. These led to 21 rebel MLAs coming out openly against the CM.

But of course our national media was not aware of all this turmoil happening in the Arunachal unit of the grand old party of India. After these 21 MLAs revolted openly, it was natural for BJP’s 11 MLAs to offer support to them, so that a new govt can be formed without fresh elections. But to call it BJP engineered split is a distortion of the truth.

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Raju Das
Corporate Dropout, Freelance Translator

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