A particular section of the Indian media has often been accused of being mealy-mouthed and obscurantist when the transgressors belong to the minority community. Far from mentioning the religious identity of the offenders in the articles, they deliberately seed doubts amongst the readers by using ambiguous appellations, references and misleading feature images to project Hindus in the bad light. Such reports are then lapped up by the left-leaning anti-Hindu brigade who share it widely among their circles to further their Hinduphobic propaganda. Recently, The Telegraph India and The Logical Indian resorted to spreading fake news and published articles alleging that even amidst the coronavirus outbreak, rampant casteism continued to prevail in the country.
With no reference to the identity of the transgressors, the article alleged that two men in Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh refused to consume food at a coronavirus quarantine centre simply because it was cooked by a Dalit. The articles also used a picture of RSS men distributing food to imply that they were the ones who practised casteism in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown.
While the identity of the Dalit cook was mentioned in the article, along with the celebrated individuals such as Vijay Dubey, the BJP MP from Kushinagar, who attended the quarantine centre and had food there, the identities of the two offenders who refused to consume food citing that it was cooked by a Dalit were conspicuously missing from the article. ‘The Telegraph’ very conveniently masked their identities by referring to them as “two-middle aged men”.
The Logical Indian, on the other hand, did mention the identity of one of those who had denied having food at the quarantine centre but resorted to spreading fake news and propaganda by other means. Seraj Ahmad was one of two individuals who refused to intake food cooked by a Dalit. Since the culprit was a Muslim, the Logical Indian continued with its anti-Hindu propaganda with its misleading headlines and deceptive feature image, while relegating the disclosure of the accused’s identity to the body of the article so that details can be glossed over and gullible readers are tricked into believing that Hindus promoted casteism.
How Propaganda is done— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) April 17, 2020
– Seraj Ahmed refused to hv food cooked by Dalit
– BJP MP went to hv food to support Dalit Pradhan
But Paid Media @ttindia @LogicalIndians didn’t name intentionally in headline to make it look like Hindu oppression.
Used pic of RSS to defame them. pic.twitter.com/622nVhrb2p
As the wheels of propaganda and fake news peddling were set in motion by the deceptive reportage by The Telegraph and Logical Indians, left-liberal propagandists quickly latched onto the fallacious assertions made by the articles and propagated their nefarious agenda. Propagandists used this deceit to their advantage to reinforce the mistaken belief that Hindus continue to oppress the marginalised community at a time when the country is staggering under the pandemic.
Journalist Naveen Kumar went a step ahead in bolstering the anti-Hindu propaganda. Sharing ‘The Telegraph’ report on his Twitter page, Kumar conjured up a fictitious identity- ‘Maharaj’, who refused to eat food touched by a Dalit. By doing so, Kumar not only concealed the real identity of the culprit but also misled his followers into believing as a Hindu who goes by the name ‘Maharaj’ had exhibited casteist behaviour.
जो कहते हैं जाति ख़तम हो गई।दो लोग क्वारांटाइन सेंटर से निकलकर खाने के लिए तीनों वक़्त बाहर जाते हैं। इसलिए नहीं कि बंदोबस्त नहीं है।इसलिए की सेंटर में बनाने वाले दलित है और महाराज जी दलितों के हाथ की छुआ खाना नहीं खा सकते। ऐसे आदमी पर देशद्रोह लगना चाहिए। https://t.co/1GKvqp4oS1— Navin Kumar (@navinjournalist) April 14, 2020
Another shameless anti-Hindu propagandist, Ashok Swain, who is often caught lying through his teeth, tweeted the spurious story alleging that upper-caste Hindus kept in quarantine centres in Uttar Pradesh are going home to eat food because they are refusing to eat food cooked by a Dalit. Like on most occasions, here too, Swain perpetuated his anti-Hindu bias and tried to pull the wool over his followers’ eyes by falsely alleging that upper-caste Hindus were practising casteism whereas the fact was that one Muslim-Seraj Ahmad was the one who had denied having food cooked by a Dalit. In fact, after sharing the article with patently wrong assertion, Mr Swain has the audacity to accuse media of blaming Muslims for the coronavirus crisis in the country.
Such morally depraved tactics of resorting to equivocation and obfuscation by prejudiced online rags and conniving propagandists serve two purposes. It attempts to paint the larger Hindu majority with the same brush as the Tablighi Jamaat Muslims who are accused of wantonly spreading the contagion across the country as well as to create a rift between the Hindus and Dalits by alleging that Hindus still harbour casteist attitude against their Dalit brethren.
Ever since the media has called out the criminal role of Tablighi Jamaat Muslims in deliberately and perversely spreading the coronavirus in the country, the propagandists have eagerly come to the defence of delinquent Jamaat members and have taken up the cudgel to defend the errant Tablighi Jamaat members who were found spitting on nurses, doctors, running around naked in quarantines centres and intentionally hiding in different parts of the country to avoid being sent to quarantine centres.
With the vile acts of Tablighi Jamaat members becoming overwhelmingly difficult to defend, the propagandists have adopted a far more insidious recourse of blaming the Hindus of the same offence, so as to downplay the transgression committed by the Jamaat members. By throwing in the allegations of casteism against the Hindus in the mix, propagandists have only displayed they are willing to go to any extent to shield the Tablighi Jamaat super-spreaders and vilify the innocent Hindus.