Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was recently in Pune, for the release of the Marathi version of a book written by journalist-author Nitin Gokhale on Siachen. At the function, Parrikar gave a speech, which became the talking point for media houses
Most media reports claimed Parrikar blasted Aamir Khan for unpatriotic comments:
Indian Express had a markedly different headline:
The Indian Express claimed Parrikar said:
…anyone speaking against the country must be “taught a lesson” in the same way that an “actor” and an “online trading company” were taught.
“Some of our people are very smart, I know. There was a team which was working on this. They were telling people you order and return it… The company should learn a lesson, they had to pull his advertisement”
Some leftists journalist quickly latched on to the juicy parts to create a narrative. An abusive journalist tweeted this:
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) July 31, 2016
A journalist formerly with India Today used the quotes from the Indian Express story:
— Pierre Fitter (@pierrefitter) July 31, 2016
Sagarika Ghose too harped on the words “Our Team”
— Sagarika Ghose (@sagarikaghose) July 31, 2016
How does someone dare to talk about ill of this country, wrong about Bharat Mata. I am not referring to Srinagar (incident), I am talking about Delhi (incident). How does anyone have guts to speak against the nation? How does he have the courage to speak like this? I am not talking about any university any organisation (audience laughs and claps). When anyone speaks like this, he has to be taught a lesson of his life. And people have done that, with people power…
One actor did this mistake, saying that his wife wants to go abroad and stay there, (audience laughs) It was an arrogant statement, However poor my family is, or however small my house is, I have to love my house and always aim to make a big bungalow out of it, through a right procedure. But you can’t feel ashamed of yourself.
Some things we take it the public in a wrong manner. I remember a story, once a boy was going to school. How, we sometimes (unclear) wrong things. How we have to often correct these things at home only.
When this actor did this, the company for which he was advertising, was an online trading company. Many people broke relations with that their company. Many people quit from the lease, and some over smart people ordered goods and sent them back. There was a team, which I know, which was working on this. They were telling people you order and return it, this company should learn a lesson. That to pull out his advertisement.
Nowhere in this portion of the speech does Parrikar say “our people”. He only says that many people used a legal means of boycotting an organisation, and that he knew of a team of people who was also working on this. Even the organiser of the event tweeted saying that he never heard Parrikar say “our people”:
@manoharparrikar never said Amche Loka (our people). He said jasta hushar (smart aleck)
— Nitin A. Gokhale (@nitingokhale) July 31, 2016
This completely goes against the narrative created by some media houses and some leftist journalists that BJP’s or Parrikar’s “own people” were behind the Snapdeal movement. This also reveals that most media houses did not even report that Parrikar spoke about the Delhi sloganeering as well as Aamir Khan, and hence not all his comments were attributed to Aamir Khan.
Hence, it may even be argued by some that the “taught a lesson” comment, was a sly reference to JNU, which he comically tried to deny. In fact, this was the exact interpretation of NDTV itself:
According to Mr Parrikar, when the actor made the statement last year, many people had protested against his remark and even uninstalled the mobile application of an online shopping site he was associated with, while the firm had also pulled out the advertisement featuring him.
In an oblique reference to the alleged anti-national sloganeering at JNU earlier this year, Mr Parrikar said those who speak against the nation need to be taught a lesson by people of this country.
The main question then to ask his, from where did the Indian Express report cook up the lines “our people”, which in turn led many to believe that BJP or the Defence Minister had spear headed this campaign, and thus, had the tacit or otherwise endorsement of BJP of the Defence Minister. Was there some other bit of the video which is yet unreleased? Or was this a figment of the Indian Express’s imagination, since no other media reported the “our people” line?