Home Fact-Check How media glossed over the fact that dancers were asked to strip at an Eid celebration and not just any 'cultural event'

How media glossed over the fact that dancers were asked to strip at an Eid celebration and not just any ‘cultural event’

Recently, in a horrific incident, girls of the rainbow dance group were invited to perform for an event celebrating Eid and were then heckled by a mob and forced to strip naked and dance.

Recently, in a horrific incident, girls of the rainbow dance group were invited to perform for an event celebrating Eid and were then heckled by a mob and forced to strip naked and dance. One vehicle of the dance group was also attacked by axes and steel digger bars, causing substantial damage to the vehicle.

The Rainbow dance group’s director Arup D Rabha filed an FIR with Boko police station regarding the incident, where he has named Kuddus Ali, Sayed Khan, Atikul Islam, Samajuddin, Jeherul Islam and Abbas Ali, along with all the members of the organising committee of the event as the accused in the case. Shahrukh Khan and Subahan Khan were arrested on Sunday as well.

The reportage surrounding this horrific incident has been nothing short of shameful, to say the least.

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The Media has conveniently glossed over the fact that the horrific incident actually took place during an Eid celebration, staying true to their tradition of underreporting crimes related to the minority community.

The India Today report was headlined “Woman dancers forced to strip during a cultural event in Assam, NCW takes notice”.

India Today headline

In the article itself, India Today does mention that two men, Shahrukh Khan and Subahan Khan were arrested, but nowhere in the report do they bother mentioning that this shameful incident happened at an Eid festival event.

Hindustan Times headlined its report, “3 more detained in Assam for trying to force female dancers to strip”.

Hindustan Times report

In their article, the only place where they mention that this was an Eid festival, is while mentioning a direct quote by the Director of the Dance group.

The quote mentioned by Hindustan Times is as follows:

“We later found that the organisers had promised the spectators a naked dance show as part of post-Eid celebrations and had collected money promising a troupe from Cooch Behar in West Bengal,” said Rabha.

Times Now too wasn’t far behind. They too called his a ‘cultural event’, while in the report, thankfully, they named the 2 persons arrested.

Times Now report

Interestingly, India Times too followed the same suit. The report was filed by a journalist called Shweta Sengar.

Article by India Times

The article by Shweta Senger was an original report with no agency input mentioned. Even then, the report failed to mention that this was an Eid festival celebration.

Local media had reported extensively and any journalist or agency, had they bothered to look, would have realised the nature of the event at which this incident took place.

Shweta Senger herself has a history of pandering to communal sentiments. Earlier, she had reported that a Muslim doctor was beaten up and the crowd said ‘Muslims should leave India’ to him. As it turns out, this was a fabrication by Senger and after an OpIndia fact-check, the report by India Times was updated with Senger continuing to mouth inanities.

These headlines and stories that asserted that the horrendous incident took place at a ‘cultural’ event were staff reports by the publication’s team and not agency reports and hence, the blame for presenting an incomplete picture of the incident to the readers rests solely with them.

There were other portals that carried the agency report sent by PTI. Among those were NDTV, Huffington Post and several other media organisations.

One must ask why PTI, being a reputable news agency too chose to gloss over the fact that the shameful incident of dancers being attacked by a mob and forced to strip took place at an Eid celebration.

The Media has often tried to gloss over crimes by the minority community and this seems like another lazy attempt to do the same. Recently, OpIndia’s investigation had revealed that self-proclaimed fact-checker, AltNews, had fabricated a quote from the police just to downplay the brutality heaped on the little victim from Aligarh, whose perpetrators were Zahid and Aslam.

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