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Times of India calls brutal murder of a student by student wing of PFI ‘paying back in same coin’

3 days ago, members of Campus Front, the student wing of banned radical Islamist organization Popular Front of India stabbed and killed a 19-year-old student named Abhimanyu. According to reports, Abhimanyu was a member of SFI, the student’s wing of CPM. Another student named Arjun, also 19, was reportedly seriously injured in the attack.

The attack which originated from a dispute between the two student organizations soon over graffiti for the new academic year in Maharaja’s College, Ernakulam, soon took a very violent turn when reportedly a violent mob of over a dozen Campus Front workers attacked Abhimanyu and his friends. Abhimanyu was declared dead in hospital.

SFI and its parent organization CPM have called for bandhs in the state, several news outlets have come up with their ‘analysis’ of the brutal murder. One such article, published in the Times of India is worth attention. The article seems to have disregarded even basic decency in an attempt to divert the public’s attention.

The insensitive part is the article’s headline which reads as ‘Campus Front pays SFI back in the same coin’. The article’s title does not even try to represent the slightest sympathy or express the minimum level of decency in describing an incident where a 19-year-old boy was brutally stabbed inside a college campus by radical elements.

TOI article headline

Right in the beginning paragraph, the article makes its intentions clear. The article mentions, “SFI had used violence to gain an upper hand in the college campuses over the years but now a new kind of politics is emerging in campuses which has close links with religious fundamentalism.”

Reading the article makes one feel that Times of India is justifying what happened to Abhimanyu. While the article is not incorrect in saying that SFI has indulged in violent politics just like the PFI, when a boy is stabbed to death, one would expect basic decency in headlining from a media house like Times of India.

The article quotes a CPM leader as saying campus violence is taking place because the college managements have ‘imposed restrictions’ on campus politics.

It is notable here that PFI is a radical Islamist organization and has been involved in many instances of violence and murder in the past. It is also under investigation for carrying out radicalization activities in the state of Kerala. We had also reported how SFI had brutally attacked ABVP students while the police had simply looked on.

While both SFI and PFI do seem like two sides of the same coin, murder needs to be condemned unequivocally.

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