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Here are a couple of propaganda techniques used to not only blame Hindus for violence by Muslims but also paint aggressors as ‘good samaritans’

How does the Quint know that Shakeel and other "youths" were protecting the temple and not waiting outside to vandalise it when the opportunity presented itself? Well, they take Shakeel's word for it. Why, you ask? Because Muslims never lie. A prominent Muslim had once told us that categorically.

Repetition, it is said, is the most important ingredient of propaganda. Hitler once said, “All propaganda must be confined to a few bare necessities and then must be expressed in a few stereotyped formulas. Only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea upon the memory of a crowd”. Hitler essentially advocated that the propaganda message must be simple with only a few ingredients and it should be repeated ad-nauseam so the masses effortlessly remember the message.

The formula is rather simple. If you want to paint the aggressors as the victim, find a simple story and keep repeating it every time the aggressors go on a rampage. If you want to invalidate the persecution faced by a people, keep telling them that they are responsible for the carnage that they were subjected to, tell them that somehow, they were the ones who irked the persecutors to murder and rape them. It is your fault, the message would say. You forced them to murder you and while ‘few of them’ murdered you, some of them were busy protecting you too – be thankful.

The media repeats this template almost diligently every time a Muslim mob goes on a rampage because their fragile feelings were hurt.

Recently, violence had gripped the state of Maharashtra this week, most notably the city of Amravati in Vidarbha, following the state-wide protests and rallies organised by some Muslim organisations on Friday, November 12, against reported incidents of mosques being vandalised in Tripura.

Besides Amravati, at least two other cities—Malegaon and Nanded—were in turmoil as scores of supporters heeded the call of Muslim organisations and took to streets in protest against the alleged vandalisation of mosques in Tripura. The protests inevitably turned violent, with the mob going on a rampage, destroying public and private properties in their wake. It was also revealed later that not only were properties damaged, but an ancient Shani temple was also damaged in the violence unleashed by the Muslim mob.

It is pertinent to note that this string of violence was supposedly triggered by fake news floated by two journalists, who alleged that in Tripura, a mosque had been vandalised and a copy of the Quran had been burnt. The journalist who floated this news was explicitly asked to provide evidence for this news by the police. She, in turn, told the police to find the evidence themselves – all this – while the Maulvi of the prayer hall himself said that the mosque was not vandalised and the Quran was not burnt. The journalists, who were asked to stay put in Tripura, snuck into Assam and were planning to flee to Delhi when they were intercepted and arrested.

Through this entire saga, the media shielded the Muslim community. When the BJP organised a peaceful protest against the violence, the Muslim mob pelted stones and indulged in rampant violence again. The media, in turn, blamed BJP and Hindus.

Here are some sample headlines:

IANS copy published by Deccan Herald

The Wire reported that the police had blamed BJP leaders for “inciting violence”. How, exactly? By protesting against the violence that had already been unleashed by Muslim groups and organisations.

Article by The Wire

Almost every single time the Muslim mob goes on a rampage, the secular establishment which often includes the law enforcement agencies and the media tries its best to pin the blame on Hindus themselves. In this case, the BJP was blamed for ‘inciting violence’ by protesting against the violence. When Kamlesh Tiwari allegedly made some statement that hurt Muslims, it was him who was arrested, not those walking the streets shouting “Gustakh-e-Rasool ki saza, sar tan se juda” (the very people who later murdered him brutally). When Muslims and Leftists organised the Delhi violence and went on a carnage killing several Hindus, Hindus were blamed for defending themselves and the government was blamed for introducing a law to rescue persecuted Hindus from neighbouring Islamic nations. While the Muslim mob hardly needs any provocation to go on a rampage and murder ‘Kafirs’, the media will ensure that it is the Hindu who is blamed for ‘inciting’ the Muslims or even defending themselves against the violence unleashed, not the Muslims themselves who went on a rampage, murdered, raped and plundered.

Every time this trope is repeated, it is expected to trigger a very specific societal response.

  1. The Muslims committing violence are not to be blamed. They are only reacting to the provocation by Hindus. Blame the Hindus. Not the Muslims.
  2. If the Hindus had not defended themselves, the violence would have ended sooner. The Hindus must, therefore, not defend themselves at all. Defence is violence. The violence itself is an innocent reaction to harsh words (which must not have been spoken, to begin with).
  3. The Hindu community must barter their lives and their dignity to buy peace from an intolerant minority.
  4. The Hindus and the State must capitulate to every demand of the Muslim community because if they don’t, they will be “hurt” – Hurt enough to burn the nation.

Now, once the society has been conditioned to always assume innocence on the part of Muslims and aggression on the part of Hindus (far from reality, but propaganda hardly concerns itself with the truth), the next step is simple – simpler than the previous one.

Plant stories that show that the Muslims were not only innocent, they were also protecting the Hindus (the ones they were actually killing, but never mind facts).

In Maharashtra, it has been long established that Muslim organisations ran amuck because they felt hurt by something that did not even happen in Tripura. According to eyewitnesses, an ancient Shani temple was also damaged by the rioting Muslims. One would imagine that there’s no way the media could possibly twist these facts to somehow paint the Muslim mob as a bunch of possible good samaritans. One would imagine wrong.

Sample this article by The Quint.

Article by The Quint

After proving that it was the Hindus responsible for the violence by Muslims, the propagandists have now moved to the second phase – proving that the Muslims were actually the good samaritans protecting India’s syncretic culture.

Here is what the Quint did.

They first smartly reiterated that RIOTS broke out because of the BJP. I mean, yes, the Muslim mob spearheaded by Raza Academy indulged in some violence before the BJP decided to protest against the violence itself, but the riot itself broke out because of the BJP. Hardly makes sense, but at least they established some fault that needs to rest with the BJP – imperative to prove that the Muslim mob was not entirely to be blamed.

Part of the article by The Quint

Once the blame has been established, The Quint went on to prove that the Muslims of the area where the Muslim mob went on rampage were good samaritans. They claimed that “youths” stayed up for 3 days straight to protect a Shiva Temple situated in the Muslim dominated area.

Shakeel sounds like a sweet man. Violence should not be “instigated” in Muslim dominated areas and temples should not be harmed – This is his heartwarming message to the society after Muslims went on a rampage against Hindus and damaged an ancient Shani temple.

Shakeel saheb did not really mention who the temple needed protection from – Leprechauns? Unicorns? The Marwaris? Jains? Who knows!

We don’t even know who Shakeel is. But Quint quoted him to ensure that the “innocent Muslims protected Hindus” trope is furthered while the “BJP rally turned violence” is etched in our memory forever. How does the Quint know that Shakeel and other “youths” were protecting the temple and not waiting outside to vandalise it when the opportunity presented itself? Well, they take Shakeel’s word for it. Why, you ask? Because Muslims never lie. A prominent Muslim had once told us that categorically.

Just for good measure, they also mentioned that “protestors” were marching towards a Dargah. Who were these protestors? Certainly not the innocent Muslims. Must be the Hindus who wanted to attack the Dargah and “incite violence further”.

One might marvel at this approach by the media propagandists but this is not new. This is almost a template that the media uses every time a Muslim mob goes on a rampage and damages the properties of Hindus, kill Hindus themselves and vandalise temples.

In 2020, Bangalore was gripped by violence when Muslim mobs took to the streets because they believed their Prophet has been insulted.

Amidst the menacing chants of “Allahu Akbar” and “Naara e Taqbeer”, the rampaging Muslim mob burnt down a police station, attacked the residence of the Dalit Congress MLA’s residence after one of his relatives had allegedly made a derogatory Facebook post.

Over a 100 people had gathered around the residence of Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivasamurthy around 7:00 PM on Tuesday. Congress MLA Akhanda Srinivasamurthy represents Pulikeshinagar constituency which is reserved for the Scheduled Caste (SC). The Muslim mob, armed with sticks, iron rods, sharp metal objects and other weapons, went berserk and barged into the house of the MLA. 

The angry Muslim pelted stones and began to torch vehicles, ATMs, shops near the locality while protesting against the alleged derogatory post made by one of the relatives of Dalit Congress MLA Akhanda Shrinivasamurthy. Social media posts of few people involved in the mob violence indicate that the riots could have been pre-planned as calls for the mobilisation of Muslims were allegedly made on social media platforms.

Guess what the media did? They floated a video of Muslim men forming a human chain to protect a temple in the area.

The same happened after Delhi anti-Hindu riots as well. Day after the Delhi’s Anti-Hindu riots in February, media reports had emerged how Muslims formed human chains to ‘save temples’ in Delhi. In the article, Hindu Frontline claims that Hindus desecrated the mosques and Muslims were afraid that Hindus would then destroy a temple to blame the Muslims. Hence, to ‘protect’ temple from Hindus, Muslims formed a chain. “As a Hindu mob finished its destruction of the mazaar and poured into the lanes wreaking havoc, Muslims retaliated by pelting bricks back at them. In the melee, it was feared that the temple would be attacked either by the Hindus, in order to put the blame on Muslims angry at their mazaar being torched.” the report read.

Similar such ‘human chains’ emerged while protesting against CAA and NRC as well. 

A similar kind of trope was peddled during the communal violence that broke out in Delhi Hauz Qazi after a Hindu temple was desecrated in the area. A fabricated story, reinforcing ‘secularism’ and ‘bond of brotherhood’ was ran in the media, wherein Muslims were claimed to be helping the Hindus in ‘installing the idols’ and serving food.

As it turned out, the Hindu activists in the region rubbished the reports, claiming Muslims were serving foods only for ‘photo-ops’. 

OpIndia had then spoken to Aviral Sharma, one such Hindu activist who was present at Hauz Qazi and was closely associated with the organisation of Hindu events in the area.

Aviral Sharma said that the event was organised by VHP and the money for the event came from donations by Hindus. The Muslims of Hauz Qazi did not pay any amount towards the Praan Pratishtha event and hence, reports that they ‘helped install new idols’ in the Durga Temple are outright lies.

The templates have been put in place to blind Hindus. The message is simple – You are the reason for your own persecution. If you defend yourself, you will be blamed for the violence and called terrorists. If you protest, you will be hunted. Shut up. Capitulate to Muslims. Don’t say a word. However, once you see the propaganda pattern, it becomes almost impossible to unsee it. You know for a fact that the media is trying to hoodwink you into going quietly into the dark night and perishing without a fight. Every incident of violence has to be called out for what it is and the enablers of violence, the media propagandists particularly, need to know that their sleight of hand would fail to ensure our end.

 

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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