The Times of India on Saturday attempted to give a Hindu spin to a crime perpetrated by an Islamic cleric, who is an accused in the sex racket, by referring to him as a ‘Tantrik’.
On Thursday, a Mazar caretaker was arrested for allegedly running a sex racket. The caretaker of Jama Mazar situated at Hussainabad in Thakurganj area of Lucknow named ‘Kale Baba’ also identified as Nasir, allegedly used to sexually exploit women in the name of treatment.
We had reported on how the local people had been receiving complaints regarding some suspicious activities taking place in the Mazar. Some of the locals had caught a woman and a man in an objectionable condition in a room adjacent to the Mazar and had recorded the incident on cameras.
However, the Times of India, in its attempt to ‘secularise’ the crime, passed off the accused as a ‘Tantrik’, by giving an impression to its readers that the crime was actually committed by a Hindu person. Even though the report carries the name of the accused as ‘Nasir’ inside, Times of India in its misleading headline says arrested accused is a ‘Tantrik’.
Not just Times of India, another ‘feminist’ portal ‘Shethepeople’ too peddled the same propaganda by claiming that the arrested individual in Lucknow sexual assault case was a ‘Tantrik’ and attempted to hide that it was actually an Islamic cleric who was an accused in the case.
In general parlance, the ‘Tantrik’ is a practitioner of the “tantra vidya“, is mainly associated with Hinduism, leading to a perception that the crime was committed by a Hindu individual.
Repeated instances of media ‘Hindu-ising’ the crimes perpetrated by criminals of other faiths
To push their secular narrative, the media has been trying to shield the perpetrators by withholding complete details and leaving out the identities of the criminals altogether if the accused belonged to certain minority communities.
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 gave it an obvious Hindu slant in the headline by referring to him as a ‘Tantrik’.
This headline was then carried by many media houses such as NDTV, India Today, The Tribune verbatim without changes.
India Today, in fact, went a step further and even used a rather ‘Hindu looking’ featured image for their story that appeared as if the ritual itself was Hindu.
Not just this, there are several incidents in the past where media has resorted to such chicanery. As per a report in The Hindu, a woman had accused a “Tantrik” of raping her in Ajmer, after taking her there 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’.
The vernacular media seems to have learnt the same trick as Hindi-daily Dainik Jagran too had decided to call an accused in a harassment case as “Tantrik Sufi baba” in the headline. However, the perpetrator was identified as Aftab. In their article, Hindi News18 had 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.