Home Editor's picks Scroll whitewashes celebrations of Pulwama attack, instead targets those who complained about celebrations

Scroll whitewashes celebrations of Pulwama attack, instead targets those who complained about celebrations

Scroll did not care about the fact that while the activists reported these elements to proper police authorities, they outed their identity to violent radical mobs. They fed their identities to those who celebrated Jaish-e-Mohammad

Following the ghastly terror attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14 which claimed lives of 44 Indian soldiers, as the nation mourned, some floated conspiracy theories while few celebrated the deaths of our soldiers. Even before the tears could dry up, a narrative was being built to whitewash the terrorist. There were more stories about the terrorist who blew himself up with 350 kg of explosive to reach ‘Jannat’ by killing those who ‘drink cow urine‘ than the ones who were killed.

The Times of India referred to the terrorist as a ‘local youth’ and was upset that India was ‘pinning the blame’ on Pakistan. This despite the fact that Jaish-e-Mohammad, a terror organisation nurtured and protected by Pakistan on its soil, took responsibility of the attack. Articles by The Wire and Scroll which informed us that Adil was just an ordinary young boy who wanted to become a Maulvi were shared by many people from Pakistan.

However, when reports of people celebrating the attack came, they were in a fix. How far can one play the Freedom of Speech card? That is when the diversion technique comes into play.

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Fake news and rumours were spread that Kashmiri girls were ‘trapped’ inside a hostel in Uttarakhand as a mob stood outside baying for their blood. Amongst them, pioneering the rumourmongering was JNU freelance protestor Shehla Rashid, who was earlier accused of running away with funds collected for Kathua case. Even when Uttarakhand Police refuted the rumours, Shehla stood by her rumour and in turn accused Uttarakhand Police of ‘gaslighting’ the victims. Eventually, an FIR was registered against her for spreading rumours.

Anguished and angered by such instances, especially those calling for war against India and justifying the killing of the jawans, a group of youngsters had come together to report social media profiles to law enforcement agencies. A bunch of people on social media reached out to the educational institutes and companies these people who got into a celebratory mode after the terror attack and questioned them regarding their policies. You see, just as Adil Ahmed Dar, who was a local youth indulging in harmless stone-pelting graduated to driving an explosive-laden car on a suicide mission, who can guarantee that these keyboard ‘revolutionaries’ will not blow themselves up at the sight of ‘militant Hanuman‘? Many colleges and companies suspended these individuals, asking them to explain themselves about their action on the terror attack.

That is when the tectonic shift happened in the narrative. Now that they cannot quite defend the indefensible (after all, he just blew himself up and killed 44 soldiers). So now, under the garb of ‘Kashmiris are under threat’, they decided to save those who are celebrating terror attack by downplaying it and calling it ‘questioning the government’.

One of such attempts to report the offenders was a Facebook page called ‘Clean The Nation’, which was allegedly deleted by Facebook yesterday. Although it’s not known if Facebook deleted the page, the page and its administrators came under attack from Left-leaning website Scroll.

The website tried to paint the Facebook page as involved in targeted harassment while giving ‘context’ to messages of those who were reported for celebrating a terror attack. Not just contextualizing, Scroll article dishonestly and selectively picked up messages where the government was criticized and left the ones where there was an open celebration of jawan’s death to insinuate that page administrators were indulged in targeting citizens for their unfavourable views on Modi government.

OpIndia reached out to the page administrators, who expressed shock that they were maligned for merely reporting an act – that comes under crime as per various acts such as the IT act, sedition law, and the IPC – and were put under risk of being attacked by terror sympathizers. Madhur, one of the administrators of the group, said, “We created the group to expose break India forces. We reported to the authorities and they took action. I think so-called liberals noticed that the nationalists are uniting and this may hamper their livelihood.”

Reacting to the article published by Scroll, whitewashing the celebrations, Ashutosh Vashisht said, “It is unfortunate that Scroll will stoop so low to cherry-pick on the messages shared in the group. One Kashmiri student had updated WhatsApp status praying for ‘Shahadat’ (martyrdom) of the terrorist. Another professor of a university in Guwahati had justified the attack on our jawans by claiming that the security forces have carried out atrocities against people in the valley. How is that okay? How do these so-called ‘atrocities’ justify the terror attack on our soldiers?”

Speaking on the accusations of doxxing (revealing personally identifiable information about an individual with a malicious intention), Vashisht said, “The ones who are accusing us of doxxing today were cheering when Pratik Sinha had revealed identities of anonymous users on Twitter just because they were making memes and couldn’t take a joke.”

“So if one of them does reveal identities of those who crack jokes on them, it is ‘fact-checking‘, but if we report to law enforcement agencies about those who want to celebrate attack on India, we are the bad ones,” added Ashutosh.

Essentially, these activists resorted to the law. They saw something which goes against the interests of the country according to the Indian Penal Code and reported it to relevant authorities. They also intimated their respective employers about these illegalities. While emotions ran high, these activists resorted to nothing that was beyond the scope of the law. Today, it would seem like these activists reporting illegality is a far more heinous crime than blowing people up with explosives or celebrating the cold-blooded murder of our soldiers by Pakistan sponsored terrorists. Scroll did not care about the fact that while the activists reported these elements to proper police authorities, they outed their identity to violent radical mobs. They fed their identities to those who celebrated Jaish-e-Mohammad.

That the activists did was legal, as the celebration of an attack on India is sedition – a crime – as well as such comments are a crime under IT laws and other section of IPC. They were reporting to law enforcement agencies, unlike Scroll, which has essentially outed their profiles to criminals. One wonders then, is that how severe their hate for India is? 

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