In recent days, a section of the mainstream media and “celebrity activists” seem to have set a trend to link the heinous act of rape with Hindu temples after the Kathua rape-and-murder case. The outrage over Kathua by these set of celebrities itself had highlighted the temple part more than the heinous crime itself, as if by design. Now it appears that there is indeed a design to the whole ‘movement’.
As seen today, the media seems desperate to continue this “rape in temple” trend, by willing to overlook facts to force fit a case into the said narrative.
On Monday morning, some media houses reported that a minor girl was kidnapped and raped in a “temple complex” in Haryana’s Yamunanagar:
— Mirror Now (@MirrorNow) April 23, 2018
Morning Update: नहीं थम रही बच्चियों से दरिंदगी, हरियाणा के यमुनानगर में 13 साल की नाबालिग से मंदिर परिसर में गैंगरेप. बिहार के मुजफ्फरपुर में 9 साल की बच्ची की रेप के बाद हत्या
— ABP न्यूज़ हिंदी (@abpnewshindi) April 23, 2018
Aaj Tak even proceeded to openly liken the crime to the Kathua rape case by headlining the story as, “Haryana witnesses Kathua type crime, attempt to kill a minor after raping her“.
Glancing at local news reports though reveals that the true facts of the matter are different from the “angle” being provided by the aforementioned media houses.
As reported by Dainik Jagran, the crime actually didn’t take place inside any temple or its premises. As claimed by the victim, she was taken by the four assailants to a “Dharamshala’s porch” near a Shiv temple, where they proceeded to rape her. The report also quotes SP Rajesh Kalia as asserting that the Dharamshala isn’t part of any temple.
The fact that the crime was committed in a Dharamshala (guest houses run by local communities, usually for pilgrims) and not a temple was also confirmed in an Amar Ujala report. Plus the report has hinted at the non-functional nature of the religious complex by claiming that the said temple didn’t have any priests and that the Dharamshala (which earlier used to remain under lock and key) was long being used as a meeting place by anti-social elements.
Another angle which might negate the communal angle insinuated by the mainstream media (by linking the crime to the temple and likening it with Kathua incident), is the inter-religious nature of the accused, with reports claiming that two of the accused in question are Muslims, who too was present when the others named Meharlal and Vikas allegedly committed the crime. The other two accused have been named in reports as Danish and Bhura.
The police have asserted that they will nab the culprits at the earliest.
Clearly based on the information provided by local reports, the aforementioned media houses seemingly jumped the gun to sensationalise their reports, when the police itself has denied the venue of the crime being linked to any temple, and the temple itself not being under use.
This incidentally isn’t the only time the media has painted crimes with a selective communal colour. This was prominently witnessed in the case of a robbery being spun as “Muslim family attacked”, and a youth Junaid’s murder getting portrayed as “murder over beef”, while it has now been confirmed that the motive of the crime was seat sharing.