It was only a matter of time that the media would rush to whitewash Shahrukh, the rioter who wielded gun at policemen and fired 8 rounds from his pistol on February 24 after his arrest yesterday. Shekhar Gupta’s ThePrint has been the first in what we expect many outlets who will go out of their way to humanise him.
ThePrint describes Shahrukh as ‘an aspiring model, TikTok buff, PUBG addict and a hookah smoker’ in its headline. The fact that he fired at police officer and wielded gun on the streets of the Delhi is not his major identifier. ThePrint talks about how Shahrukh aspired to be on the cover page of a fashion magazine before becoming the face of Delhi anti-Hindu riots.
ThePrint says how Shahrukh has revealed to Delhi Police how he took his gun out and shot 8 rounds of bullets ‘in spur of the moment’ when ‘other side’ started pelting stones. As if roaming around with loaded gun, in all possibility obtained illegally, is the most normal thing a person does. ThePrint claims they talked to Shahrukh’s neighbours who claim Shahrukh went to ‘save’ his sister who was sitting at one of the protest sites at Jaffrabad when riots broke out. Quoting one of the unnamed neighbours, ThePrint reasons why Shahrukh was carrying a gun, “He was very angry.”
Shahrukh’s father no school teacher
Amusingly, ThePrint failed to paint a ‘son of a schoolteacher’ picture of Shahrukh because his father has drug peddling and fake currency smuggling cases against him. Shawar Pathan, Shahrukh’s father, has been jailed a few times on charges of drug peddling. Apparently, when Shahrukh fled after his gun-wielding picture went viral on social media, he was sheltered by his father’s friend in Bareilly, who is also a drug peddler.
Shahrukh, the art lover
Shahrukh loved Punjabi songs. A ‘police source’ told ThePrint that Shahrukh’ father was a Sikh who converted to Islam to marry the Muslim woman he fell in love with. Hence, Shahrukh loves Punjabi songs. 33-year-old Shahrukh dropped out of college to pursue a career in modelling. As per ThePrint, Shahrukh got his portfolios made, got into gymming and was just a fun-loving PUBG addict.
ThePrint claims the neighbours claimed that Shahrukh’s mother wanted him to get married and take care of ‘family business’. However, since his father is accused of being a drug peddler and fake currency smuggler, ThePrint hasn’t clarified what ‘family business’ would Shahrukh be taking care of.
Whitewashing a normal occurrence
It is almost like clockwork. The moment a crime is committed, a certain section of the media goes out of its way to humanise the accused. Soon after Shahrukh’s gun-wielding video went viral on social media, some media even reported that Shahrukh ‘appeared’ to be carrying a gun when he was clearly seen firing from one. Soon after the Pulwama terror attack, Hindustan Times tried to whitewash the family of the terrorist, only ended up exposing the family even further. Recently, TheQuint tried to create a sympathy wave for the gruesome Hyderabad gang-rape and murder accused by talking to the family.