Last week, Kashmir based journalist Shujaat Bukhari was gunned down by terrorists and the so-called journalists used his death to score a political point and blamed his vocal critic scientist Anand Ranganathan who did not find Bukhari ‘moderate’, totally missing the point that he was actually killed by terrorists.
Editors Guild of India, too, released a statement which urged the state and the central government to enhance security for all journalists in the valley, without pointing out how it was perhaps Pakistan-sponsored Islamist terrorists who killed Bukhari.
A joint statement issued by the Editors Guild and other journalists’ body also demanded that the government institutes a separate inquiry into those who had ‘launched a malicious campaign against Shujaat’. They demanded the cyber cell of the Union Home Ministry should look into “all those IP addresses” and their sources from where the malicious campaigns were conducted. They said they felt ‘such killings’ are usually preceded by hate messages and malicious campaigns on social media. CLaiming that various civilians and journalists are regularly viciously trolled and targeted, such instances should be monitored by the government.
This is a dangerous proposition because who is to decide what is ‘hate message’ or ‘trolling’ and mere disagreement? As someone who has been on Twitter and social media way too long, these days everyone who disagrees with these ‘journalists’ or ‘civilians’ as social media influencers who masquerade as opinion makers, are labelled as trolls. So, effectively, if you criticize someone, you should start praying nothing untoward happens to him/her for you may be held responsible for anything that happens to them.
If ‘hate speech’ precedes murders, every time an RSS worker gets killed in Kerala, these same journalists, who have dehumanized RSS workers through a long-standing sinister campaign, should be arrested.
Shockingly, there is no reference to taking on the Islamist and cross-border Pakistan sponsored terrorism in the statements of solidarity put up by them. This when it is quite evident that Bukhari was killed by terrorists and not by someone on the Internet who had a different viewpoint or did not agree with him. No one is rallying taking out anti-terrorist, anti-Islamist protests across the country, no press meets held to ask the government to take steps to contain Islamist terrorism.
Last year in September, when journalist Gauri Lankesh, another vocal critic of Prime Minister Modi was gunned outside her residence, social media, civilians as well as so-called journalists were quick to draw the conclusion that Hindu extremists are behind her murder. Protest marches were held and solidarity statements issued since Gauri was ‘killed because she spoke against Hindutva’.
Within hours Twitter Karamchand’s had investigated and reached the conclusion that she was killed by the RSS for which even a legal notice was served to one such Karamchand. Till now, no links with RSS has been established.
But, when it came to Bukhari, not a word on Islamist terrorism. No one condemned Pakistan, which has been sponsoring cross-border terrorism and indulged in ceasefire violations in the valley.
While blaming his critics, almost as if they picked up the guns, the journalists almost gave cover to terrorists. Things got worse when even ‘Indian agencies’ were dragged in as suspects.
So effectively, for the murder of their colleague, the journalists are blaming everyone except the murderers for the crime perpetuated.