A Muslim ‘godman’ named Aslam who claimed of curing coronavirus patients by kissing their hands had died of COVID-19 in Madhya Pradesh’s Nayapura district in Ratlam on June 4.
As soon as the news of his death spread, the authorities in Ratlam sprung to action. The district authorities started scrambling to identify the people who had visited Aslam for treatment.
After identifying and sending their samples for testing, the authorities have found at least 19 of his patients to have tested positive for the pathogen. Seeing the number of coronavirus infected people rising steadily in the district, the authorities traced at least 29 other ‘healers’ who had claimed magic treatments for coronavirus and placed them in a government quarantine facility. Only after their tests are conducted would they be allowed to leave the facility, confirmed the authorities.
Aslam had infected 19 others before himself dying of coronavirus
With the rising number of coronavirus positive cases linked to this ‘healer’ Aslam Nayapura district in Ratlam has now emerged as a coronavirus hotspot. Shockingly, Aslam guaranteed to cure coronavirus by kissing the hands of the affected patients. And by doing so, he actually spread the disease to as many as 19 in the district. It is being said that out of the 24 coronavirus positives found in Ratlam on June 9, 2020 (Tuesday), 13 were those who had come in contact with Aslam. Similarly, on June 7 (Sunday), 6 people from Nayapura district who were tested coronavirus positive were all in contact with this healer. Basically, out of the 85 coronavirus positive cases in the district, 19 were those who had come in contact with Aslam.
Nodal officer Dr Pramod Prajapati said that the method these healers use is particularly dangerous as it is a potent virus carrier. These black magic healers generally blow into the water they make their patients drink. This particularly increases the chance of infection as COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth.
Media outlets calls the Muslim healer a “baba”
While the accused was a Muslim, several media organisations, including Nayi Duniya, Navbharat Times, have tried to give the entire incident a Hindu spin by describing the Muslim healer as ‘baba’. The term baba is generally used for a Hindu priest.
Aaj Tak has even used the illustration of a Hindu Sadhu in their report about Aslam.
However, this is not the first time any media outlet has tried to cover-up the Muslim perpetrators by giving it a Hindu spin to depict that the crime was committed by Hindus.
Media keeps depicting criminal magic healers as saffron-clad ‘Tantriks’
Recently, the Internet was awash with a picture of a report from 2019, where a media organisation unscrupulously endeavoured to cover up the crimes committed by a man belonging to the minority community. The case pertained to a distraught woman in Bilaspur suffering from the agony of an estranged husband and family problems. To overcome her agony, she reached out to a Muslim scholar named Aslam Faizi and sought his help. Aslam first forced her to have a sexual relationship with him and later assured her that all her problems will be solved now.
While the accused here was also a Muslim, several media organisations, including Nayi Duniya, gave the entire incident a Hindu spin by describing the alleged rapist as “Tantrik”– a practitioner of the “tantra vidya“, who is mainly associated with Hinduism, leading to a perception that the crime was committed by a Hindu individual. Moreover, an image of a Hindu priest was used to characterise the Muslim fraudster who had allegedly committed rape by coercing the victim.
Other instances of media’s treachery to give crimes committed by Muslims a Hindu spin
Last year, several media organisations attributed the death of a 10-year-old boy because of the rituals performed by a Muslim healer to a “Tantrik”. While the death of the child occurred due to a Muslim healer, PTI report gives an obvious Hindu slant to the headline and calls the Muslim healer a ‘Tantrik’. This headline was then carried by many media houses such as NDTV, India Today, The Tribune verbatim without changes.
There are several times in the past that the media has resorted to such chicanery. As per a Hindu report, a woman had accused a “Tantrik” of raping her in Ajmer, after taking her their on the “pretext of offering prayers at a Dargah“. In the same month, Times of India had carried an article titled, “Tantrik gets 10 years in jail for rape and extortion”. Like the reports mentioned above, the name of the accused was “Warsi”.
Even vernacular media has been caught using the same tricks. Dainik Jagran for some reason decided to call an accused in a harassment case as “Tantrik Sufi baba” in the headline. He, in the content, was later identified as Aftab. Hindi News18 in its article carried the headline, “Tantrik arrested for committing misdemeanour with a minor, under the pretext of chasing away ghosts”. The Tantrik was later identified as Hafiz Sajid.