News agency PTI turns Jaish-e-Mohammad into a respectable corporate structure, calls JeM terrorists as ‘associates’

Terrorists from Kashmir (Representative image)

The mainstream, established media is often known as the ideological backbone of terrorists. They have often worked as a shield and the propaganda wing for Islamists and the enemies of the Nation. News agency PTI today went a step ahead to in essence, declare terror group Jaish-e-Mohommad as a corporate entity by calling its terrorists as ‘associates’. The PTI report was then picked up by most major news outlets.

The Hindu headline (picked from PTI)

The same headline was picked by India Today too, among several others.

India Today story from agency PTI

The Indian security forces today arrested two JeM terrorists who carried out bomb blasts in Pulwama. While investigating the terror attack that took place in the Arihal area of Pulwama in July, police learnt about the involvement of Sharik Ahmad, who had been constantly communicating with foreign terrorists and making plans to carry out attacks in the area, a police spokesman said. The spokesperson then said that all four terrorists, Ahmad, Aqib Ahmad, Adil Ahmad Mir and Owais Ahmad, conspired and executed the terror attack in Airhal area and have been arrested.

The PTI report, however, tries its best to downplay the terror attack and also, the terrorists arrested. They not only called the four terrorists arrested as ‘associates’ but also called the Pakistani terrorists as ‘militants’.

Kashmir has been grappling with terrorism for decades. Pakistan, India’s not-so-friendly neighbour has been exporting gun-toting Jihadis to wage a “holy war” in Kashmir, not just for the land, but for a misplaced sense of Ummah. However, the media has often been sympathetic to the terrorism in Kashmir, even though it has claimed the lives of thousands – civilians and security forces.

According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, since the year 2000, 4,808 civilians have died in 11,442 incidents of killing. These incidents have claimed the lives of 3426 security personnel.

Read: Not just semantics: How the media uses one word to water down terrorism in Kashmir

Essentially, the terrorists functioning in Kashmir meet most of the standards that are prescribed to understand whether an armed struggle is terrorism or militancy. They instil terror, have a stated goal of fighting against the state, have religious motivations, they target civilians, they target security personnel, they even target off-duty security personnel as seen in several cases including Pulwama, so on and so forth. The aim of terrorism is to provoke the state to give a disproportionate reaction and the body count is irrelevant to the terrorists.

In fact, the media often forgets that at the peak of this “struggle”, the present-day Kashmir issue largely started with the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus. Even that was termed as “militancy” by large sections of the media instead of blatant terrorism.

While there should be no reason to term terrorists as militants, there seems to be a larger nefarious plan when terrorists belonging to JeM are branded as militants. JeM, as mentioned, is a proscribed terror outfit.

The aim is rather simple – to water down the threat of terrorism in Kashmir and brand it as some sort of armed resistance against oppression from the state, which it clearly is not. Hence, while the terms militancy and terrorism used in the context could seem like mere semantics, they are far more.

By calling terrorists as ‘associates’, PTI almost makes it sound like JeM is a corporate structure which has official positions, like bomb blast manager, vice president of the land mine department etc. What is worse is that PTI called Pakistani terrorists as militants, watering down their nefarious terror acts as well.

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