The narrative set by secular liberal media on Kashmir is one of chicanery and typical minority appeasement. A stone-pelter is never portrayed as a criminal by our media. Someone who comes out of his home to protest against the killing of terrorists and gets hurt or killed during the operation is portrayed as a victim. A community that was responsible for the exodus of Hindus from their homeland is still a ‘victim’ in the eyes of the media.
In the case of Farooq Ahmed Dar, the weaver who was used as a human shield when cornered from all sides by mobs, the narrative of media is no different. The larger question here is, why is the army expected to behave in a fair manner if the public is behaving in an unfair manner?
In an article published in ‘The Hindu’ titled – One year on, life in shreds for ‘human shield’, the newspaper manufactures a victim and blames the army for his current plight. The article says (emphasis added) :
“What was my mistake? Going to the polling booth and casting my ballot? Mr Dar asked with tears rolling down his cheek.
“I am unable to sleep. Even medicines are ineffective. No one is giving me any work. The government is silent and the judiciary is moving at its own pace,” Mr Dar told PTI in a video interview.
Prodded to speak about his life after the incident, Mr Dar said he faced a social boycott as people in his village Chill, in Budgam district, had distanced themselves after they learnt he had participated in the election process. [..]
“No one is giving me any work. I decided to work as a labourer but my human shield tag walks a pace ahead of me. At times, I wonder whether such an act of cowardice could be rewarded by the Army. Is this the message that India wants to send to Kashmir?” he asked, referring to Mr Gogoi being commended by the Army chief for his act.
Firstly, if people are not giving him work and mocking him for his ‘ordeal’ , is it not the fault of the society in Kashmir? Isn’t it a shame that his fellow Kashmiris are treating him so badly? Mr Dar must be cursing his society along with the army for putting him through his ‘agony’.
Has Farooq Ahmed Dar become a pacifist and campaigned in Kashmir to stop stone pelting? No. He continues to play the victim card and fails to criticise his fellow Kashmiris for pelting stones and throwing petrol bombs at the Army personnel. I reiterate, why is the army expect to behave in a fair manner if the public is behaving in an unfair manner?
Secondly, had Farooq Ahmed Dar really gone to vote? Though his supporters claim otherwise, what is the evidence to prove that he voted? Does he have the indelible ink mark on his finger? In the video above, NDTV journalist talks to Farooq Ahmed Dar and asks about his ordeal. He does not ask for any evidence to prove that he had voted. How can we take Mr Dar’s statement at face value?
Lastly, if we are ready to take Dar’s account at face value, why can’t we accord the same importance to Major Leetul Gogoi’s account. Gogoi, in his press conference had said that Farooq Ahmed Dar was instigating stone pelters before he was caught. In fact, Gogoi should be congratulated for his presence of mind and saving lives of many protestors who would have died under defensive fire.
The one sided and faulty narrative that is being set in favour of Farooq Ahmed Dar is not only dangerous for future of Kashmir but also the morale of Indian armed forces which are operating in worst conditions in Kashmir. There is a need to understand the politically motivated campaign of the media in reporting incidents from Kashmir.