The unfortunate assassination of veteran Kashmiri journalist on Thursday sent shockwaves in the country and especially in the journalist community. However, instead of talking about the core issue of Islamist terror that has infested Kashmir and that eventually claimed the life of Shujaat Bukhari, journalists, as is their nature, took to finding something, anything else to blame other than Pakistan backed Islamist terrorists. Some even hounded scientist and columnist Anand Ranganathan because a few days ago, Ranganathan had criticised Shujaat’s journalism with respect to the insurgency in Kashmir.
Barkha Dutt, another veteran journalist who has a special interest in Kashmir started with blaming “Twitter fundamentalists” for Bukhari’s death. And as if that wasn’t enough, she went a step ahead and used his death to write a shoddy, lie ridden article in Washington Post, basically using his death to further her own agenda.
According to Barkha, the first lesson that we must all learn from Shujaat’s assassination is that “The situation in terrorism-torn Kashmir is sliding into a black hole of possibly no return”.
The dishonesty here couldn’t be more glaring. Kashmir never elevated itself from the clutches of terrorism and hence there is no question of the state “sliding back into a black hole of possibly no return”.
A quick look at publicly available data would shatter her lie. A list of casualties since 1988 to 2018 (Till June 10th) in terror-infested Jammu and Kashmir.
If anything, the casualties in Kashmir have only decreased in all the years and in no period could one possibly say that Kashmir had lifted itself from the clutches of terrorism?
She goes on to write: “He refused to play to the jingoistic and hyper-nationalist gallery that currently dominates discussion about his home state”.
It is staggering how Shujaat Bhukari being killed by radical Islamists was turned on its head to imply that he got killed because he didn’t pander to the “hyper-nationalist gallery”.
She went on to say that ‘he condemned militant violence and concerted bids to kill local policemen by terrorist groups‘ and that ‘Kashmiri secessionists targeted him for not being anti-India, while hyper-nationalists targeted him for not being patriotic‘.
As an offshoot, Barkha Dutt has tried very hard to peddle the “secessionist” narrative even when the Kashmiris themselves proclaimed that they were doing it for religion. The “stone pelter” here says he is doing it for “Islam”. Barkha prods and asks him whether he is doing it for Kashmir.
The lies, of course, don’t stop here. She writes, “he was painted as an Islamist during a conference organized by a prominent think tank in Delhi, simply for refusing to support the publication of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons“.
Firstly, the conference she is referring to is where Anand Ranganathan spoke and elucidated how the media fans tensions in Kashmir. Incidentally, NDTV and Barkha herself has been blamed of that by Sajjad Lone himself. Secondly, for Barkha to say that Shujaat Bukhari “simply refused to support the publication of the Charlie Hebdo” is an outright lie.
Shujaat Bukhari outright justified the Charlie Hebdo killings.
Lessons learnt. Lessons delivered by the massacre of a dozen people. A line needs to be drawn. A line is drawn by the heinous terror attack. Shujaat Bukhari didn’t just refuse to endorse, he justified a terror attack.
He had also in the past justified violence and proudly proclaimed that he is intolerant.
Incidentally, these were also the tweets mentioned by Anand Ranganathan in his speech. These thoughts were twisted by Barkha to say that “he stood against extremist thought”. That he was a moderate. And that he merely “refused to endorse” the Charlie Hebdo publication. A blatant lie. Barkha yet again proves that she is the torch bearer of shoddy, dishonest journalism.
While she raves and rants, another interesting part catches one’s eye. She writes :
“His killing reinforces the fact that whether in Kashmir or the rest of India, the journalists who are the most vulnerable today are the ones who have rejected ideological labels and have held on to the importance of nuance and complexity. In today’s polarized times, those who dare to tell a story in textures of grey, instead of one-dimensional colours, are the first ones to be smeared, vilified and targeted. We are called anti-national and traitors and “presstitutes” every day on social media“.
It is extremely interesting and baffling that she has this insurmountable talent to twist an incident to firstly, paint herself as the victim and secondly, never truly talk about the roots of the problem and whitewash, shameless, the terrorism infesting Kashmir.
Shujaat Bukhari was killed by terrorists fighting against the Indian state. Shujaat Bukhari was killed by terrorists who want to break India. Shujaat Bukhari was killed by people who are backed by Pakistan. The arch nemesis of India. The country that regularly sends Kalashnikov wielding terrorists to kill our soldiers and civilians. The country that carried out the 26/11 terror attack. How Barkha twisted it to him being killed, and journalists being threatened, for not being “nationalists” is beyond comprehension.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise since Barkha and Shujaat were similar. Barkha too had justified the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits to imply that they were driven out because they had better jobs and Kashmiri Muslims were economically disenchanted.
There is perhaps only one question to be asked :
Will Shujaat Bukhari’s assassination force Barkha Dutt to wake up?
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017