The heinous post-poll violence unleashed in the state of West Bengal has been whitewashed ever since the Assembly elections. The media has hardly reported on the crimes of rape, murder and looting and turned a blind eye. After the High Court came down heavily on the Mamata Banerjee government, the CBI has been investigating the cases. However, the media seems to be still at the job of whitewashing the brutal post-poll violence in Bengal after the assembly elections where Mamata Banerjee won with a thumping majority.
Times of India report published on January 4 that was headlined: “Post-poll violence in Bengal: No proof in 21 rape, rape-attempt cases mentioned by NHRC, CBI says”.
By the headline of the Times of India report, it would seem to the reader that in 21 cases of rape, no proof has been found and therefore, the cases were supposedly fake. However, that is not the truth.
A cursory read, however, reveals the truth. The Free Press Journal published a report on January 3 that was titled: “West Bengal post-poll violence: CBI sends back 21 cases of molestation and rape to state formed SIT after failing to gather enough evidence”.
Essentially, the CBI moved 21 cases of rape or attempted rape that occurred during the West Bengal post-poll violence to a state-formed SIT in order to acquire additional evidence because it was unable to locate enough in these cases.
However, by tweaking the headline, the media outlets like the Times of India has attempted to infer that the CBI was unable to find any evidence in the charges of rape during the post-election violence in West Bengal. The insinuation of such a headline for the reader is clear – no such crime occurred.
In the article itself, the slant that Times of India is attempting to peddle is rather evident. In the first paragraph itself, Times of India called the post-poll violence that occurred in West Bengal as “alleged” violence. It is clear that by using the word “alleged”, Times of India is signalling to the readers that the violence, so far, is only an allegation and that no proof has been found for the violence yet.
Interestingly, Times of India does not specifically explain that it is entirely possible that the West Bengal Police’s SIT had failed to gather evidence adequately because the police has been accused earlier of not even filing FIRs in cases of post poll violence. This could may as well be an indictment of the West Bengal police and not of the merit of the rape cases being probed. However, the report by TOI insinuates differently.
Times of India further subtly raises doubts of the veracity of the post-poll violence in Bengal by putting the phrase “murder cases” under inverted commas, insinuating that the murders were merely allegations and that the veracity of the violence has not been authenticated yet.
Notably, on August 19, the five-member bench of the Calcutta High Court passed the order to form the SIT, as well as the CBI investigation after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), submitted its report on human rights violation in West Bengal. The NHRC has made quite a few damning revelations in the report which detailed the barbarity unleashed upon the political opponents.
The court had categorically stated that the SIT investigation will be monitored by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court. It means it will be difficult for the West Bengal Police and the Mamata Banerjee to distort and suppress facts of post-poll violence which Mamata Banerjee has denied.
West Bengal witnessed unprecedented post-poll violence where a large number of BJP workers and leaders were allegedly brutally murdered, prosecuted and raped by leaders and workers of Mamata Banerjee led ruling Trinamool Congress. This alleged state managed violence started right after assembly poll results were declared on May 2.
OpIndia had spoken to a Bengal post-poll violence rape victim, who had detailed the barbarism inflicted on her and several other BJP victims in many villages and towns in the interior parts of Bengal, by the TMC goons, with the connivance of state police, after Mamata Banerjee returned to power on May 2, 2021.
Media propaganda is subtle and often misses the mark with naïve audiences. The Times of India report is one of many such propaganda tools used frequently by the media.