Amidst the escalating Taliban blitz to capture Afghanistan, Indian media organisation NDTV today offered its platform to the terror organisation for whitewashing its crimes.
The channel recently interviewed the terror group’s spokesperson, Muhammad Sohail Shaheen, who used the platform to the hilt to distance itself from mindless violence and chaos that enveloped Afghanistan after the Taliban launched a military offensive to capture the country.
In his interview with NDTV, Shaheen rubbished the reports about 22 surrendered Afghanistan security forces personnel being shot dead by the Talibani terrorists. “There is no case of our people killing those who have surrendered,” Shaheen told NDTV.
The Taliban spokesperson also absolved his organisation from its involvement in the murder of award-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, stating that the Reuters journalist was killed during the crossfire and the Taliban could not be held accountable for the same.
This assertion is in direct contrast to the reports that said Danish Siddiqui was shot dead in cold blood by the Talibani terrorists after he was verified as Indian. According to the Washington Examiner report, Danish Siddiqui was neither killed in a crossfire in Afghanistan, nor he was collateral damage, however, he was killed by the Taliban, who shot him dead after verifying his identity.
“Siddiqui was alive when the Taliban captured him. The Taliban verified Siddiqui’s identity and then executed him, as well as those with him. The commander and the remainder of his team died as they tried to rescue him,” the report said.
On the terror group’s relationship with India, Shaheen told NDTV that it would be up to India to decide whether they are enemy or a friend.
Shaheen also used NDTV’s platform to rubbish reports that said girls as young as 15 were being forced into marriage by the Taliban. Defending the terror group, Shaheen said Islam did not allow coercing a person to give his daughter in marriage.
NDTV grants legitimacy to the Taliban even as the Islamic terror outfit wreaks havoc in Afghanistan
NDTV seems to have no qualms in allowing its platform to be used by the Taliban to trumpet its propaganda. Instead of calling out the barbarity of Talibani terrorists, who have wreaked havoc across the length and breadth of Afghanistan, NDTV chose to side with the terrorists and offer their “side” of the story.
By hosting a Talibani spokesperson, NDTV is not only granting legitimacy to the terror organisation, which it desperately covets, but it is also undermining the democratically elected government of Afghanistan and lakhs of Afghans who are at the receiving end of the terror organisation’s offensive.
Umpteen media houses, both international as well as Indian, have been reporting on the catastrophe that is underway in Afghanistan. In a matter of a few days, the Taliban has already seized more than 10 provincial capitals and has reportedly established its hegemony in 90 per cent of the districts. According to some estimates, the Taliban is already strong enough to overrun the Kabul government in the next 30 to 90 days.
The violence and fears that the Taliban will once again preside over a brutal, repressive government, all but eliminating women’s rights and conducting public amputations, stonings and executions has led thousands of Afghans to flee their homes. Not just security forces and civilians but foreign journalists too have been attacked and killed by the Taliban, with the murder of Danish Siddique being one of the starkest examples of the Taliban’s depravity.
Yet, the NDTV condoned the Taliban’s brutal repression in Afghanistan and granted it legitimacy by allowing it to use its platform to peddle its propaganda. This is not the first time, and likely not the last, that NDTV has appeared as an apologist for Islamic terrorism. There have been several incidents in the past when NDTV has watered down the role of Islamic terrorists and humanised them.
Apologia for Islamic terrorism
In May 2020, police and security forces averted a major terror attack in Pulwama after they had received inputs regarding the movement of a car laden with explosives. When the car ultimately arrived at night, a few rounds of bullets were fired following which the terrorist driving the car abandoned it a bit further down the road, thus preventing a major terror attack from occurring. NDTV, in its report, referred to the terrorist driving the car as a mere ‘driver’.
Although NDTV mentioned in its report that the ‘driver’ was suspected to be a terrorist associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen and was in touch with Jaish-e-Muhammad that was behind the Pulwama Terror Attack in 2019, it failed to mention the same while sharing the link to the report through its account on Twitter. The terror attack that was averted during the intervening night between the 27th and 28th of May, too, had similarities with the terror attack last year in that this time as well, the terrorists had chosen to use a vehicle-borne IED to achieve their sinister objectives.
NDTV journalists have also been known for speaking the language of Islamic terrorists and understating their criminality. NDTV journalist Saurabh Shukla recently took to Twitter to toe the same line as Ahmed Dar, the Islamist terrorist of terror outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad, who carried out the dastardly attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama in February 2019 and killed 40 CRPF soldiers. In a conversation on Twitter, Shukla made a gaumutra jibe to mock the Uttar Pradesh government and hurt the sentiments of Hindus.
Another NDTV journalist, Nidhi Sethi, who worked as Deputy News Editor at NDTV, had posted a comment on Facebook which seemed to glorify the terror attack by Jaish-e-Muhammad. She had written, “where a grisly 44 has been proven to be greater than the mythical 56”. With this, she had added a hashtag #HowstheJaish, a take on the famous dialogue ‘How’s the Josh’ from the recent movie Uri: The Surgical Strike. She was later suspended by NDTV.
Barkha Dutt, when she was with NDTV, had referred to terrorist Burhan Wani as the son of a school headmaster after he was eliminated by security forces. During her time with NDTV, she also justified the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley by providing ‘context’ to the entire matter that gravely mirrored the Nazis.