Thursday, August 13, 2020
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Men beat up and force woman to chant ‘Allah’ and ‘Ram’, journalists hide ‘Allah’ part

In an example of how half-truths are used to peddle an agenda, a bizarre and cruel incident was used by some journalists and celebrities to push ‘Hindu intolerance’ narrative on Twitter yesterday (and it continues even today).

The incident reportedly happened on Tuesday earlier this week in Nagaur district of Rajasthan where a group of men, some hiding their faces, were recorded on camera abusing and assaulting a woman with plastic pipes and forcing her to chant religious slogans. It was not clear who recorded the incident, but the video clearly showed that the men were forcing the woman to chant “Allah” and “Jai Shri Ram”.

In the above video, one can hear clearly that the woman was asked to chant “Allah” at least three times, and then asked to chant “Ram”, “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman” once subsequently. This ‘communal counting’ is silly given that the incident itself should be outrageous enough, but we are forced to do so since a section of the mainstream media decided to give it communal colour.

Local media reports confirm that the incident was purely criminal and the motive behind it might have been a suspicion that the woman could have been the unknown miscreant, who apparently has been cutting hairs of villagers, especially of women, in the area during the night. However, this incident, which highlights lack of policing in the area, was presented as a hate crime involving Hindutva elements.

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It started with a Hindustan Times journalist tweeting only about the “Jai Shri Ram” part and hiding the “Allah” part, thus making it appear as a case of “Hindu intolerance” in a BJP ruled state. The journalist’s intention to link it with religion and politics becomes clear in a subsequent tweet, where he tags CPM leader Sitaram Yechury and links the incident to another incident of “cow vigilantism” that happened in the state last week:

His trick worked, and Hindustan Times too played its part by re-tweeting the journalist’s half-truth. It was enough for people to lament “Hindutva” and “beef politics” and go on an ideological overdrive when the incident had nothing to do with any communal or partisan politics.

Here is one sample reaction from Sagarika Ghose, who of late has been on a mission to spread fake news and misinformation to push her agenda:

This is not for the first time when Indian mainstream media has used half-truths to peddle a partisan agenda. Earlier we had seen how HuffPo ignored killings of Hindus and focused only on Muslim victims regarding an unfortunate incident in Jharkhand, while before that, The Hindu had blamed only Hindu groups in a case of forceful cancellation of an event where other religious groups were also involved.

Fortunately, not everyone in the media was pushing the agenda this time. Rajasthan Patrika, generally considered close to the Congress, reported with full facts, raising the relevant issue of law and order.

News agency ANI too reported without hiding the “Allah” part. It should be further noted that two men in this case have been arrested and police is investigating more about the case, including about the person who shot the video and uploaded it on social media.

However, this has not deterred people, especially journalists, from continuing to peddle their partisan agenda. Following is a tweet by a former Hindustan Times journalist, who quotes the same ANI tweet that mentioned “Allah”, but decides to focus only on “Jai Shri Ram”:

And then they claim that the media in India is not free.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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