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Umar Khalid humanised, like many Islamists before him: The treachery of the ‘liberal’ media and a pattern oft repeated

There is no low, it would seem, that the liberal, corporate media and their paymasters would not fall to. The mandate has been clear for decades and what we see with Umar Khalid and the Delhi anti-Hindu riots is merely a repeat of it - humanise terrorists and Jihadis, dehumanise their victims and always.. always blame the Hindus while shielding the Muslims. There is no mandate greater. There is no treachery more sinister.

Umar Khalid, one of the chief instigators and conspirators of the Delhi anti-Hindu riots, has now spent 1,000 days in jail. On this momentous occasion, the liberal-Islamist ecosystem launched a coordinated campaign to whitewash the charges against Khalid, talk about the injustice being meted out to the Islamist and essentially, humanising the man who is accused of conspiring to burn Delhi.

There were several articles and tweets, based purely on conjecture and falsities, that tried to paint Umar Khalid as an innocent student activist who had nothing to do with the riots. In fact, most reports went so far as to claim that he was fighting for the rights of Muslims – rights which were never being taken away from them in the first place, considering CAA had nothing to do with Indian Muslims and there was no nationwide NRC to begin with (there still isn’t one). In fact, even if there was a nationwide NRC, it would still not take away the rights of Indian Muslims given that it would aim to identify illegal infiltrators, an exercise that is carried out by every nation in the world.

In the campaign to paint a Jihadi as a humanist, ‘journalist’ Srishti published a nauseating article in the Times of India and accompanied that with an equally nauseating thread about how much Umar Khalid’s girlfriend misses him, how much she loves him, how they met and started dating, how they meet in jail, so on and so forth. Srishti, it must be mentioned, is the same journalist who had abused Bhagwan Krishna earlier and was booked for it. For someone for whom Lord Krishna was a ‘womaniser’, it comes as no surprise that Umar Khalid would be a ‘lover’ worth eulogising.

How much Bano misses Umar has really nothing to do with the charges against him, however, this is the article that Times of India, one of the leading newspapers in the country, thought appropriate to publish. One really cannot be surprised at the lack of editorial standards of the Times of India, but for this drivel to pass editorial muster is a new low that the publication seems to have discovered.

One would imagine that one of the leading newspapers in India would focus on what the charges against Umar Khalid are as he completes 1,000 days in jail. In fact, even if they wanted to whitewash Umar Khalid and his role as a Jihadi, one would expect TOI to at least try and puncture holes in the chargesheet that has been filed by the Delhi Police and is now being heard in the court of law. Instead, TOI, which is often rife with semi-porn news items, chose to interview Banojyotsna Lahiri, a woman who calls herself the ‘partner’ of Khalid.

In the interview, if one cuts through the clutter of emotional garbage, there are several lies that his ‘partner’ spews. For example, claiming that the protest against CAA was ‘peaceful, colourful and vibrant’. There was nothing peaceful or colourful about the protests. Right from December 2019 to the culmination of Delhi’s anti-Hindu riots in February 2020, almost on a daily basis, there were violent attacks against Hindus. Slogans like Jinnah Waali Azadi, Hinduon ki Kabar khudegi etc could be deemed colourful for those who wish to “teach Kafirs a lesson” (something Tahir Hussain confessed to), but certainly can’t be furthered as peaceful without even a counter by the journalist – but that is exactly what happened.

Further, she claims that Umar Khalid has been incarcerated by the police in the UAPA case only on the basis of a 40-second clip that was tweeted by Amit Malviya. Interestingly, this claim, that Umar Khalid has been thrown in jail over UAPA charges merely for his speech is a lie that has been countered before. He has been thrown in jail under UAPA for planning and orchestrating the riot, not only for a speech. There are grave allegations against Umar Khalid, one that cannot and should not be whitewashed by talking about the pining of his girlfriend. Details on the charges against Umar Khalid can be read here.

In the interview, the girlfriend goes on to talk about how much she misses travelling with Umar Khalid, talking to him, and screaming at him (Nobody can blame her for this, frankly, anyone would want to consistently scream at someone like Umar Khalid), and how when he was out on bail, they enjoyed joking, laughing and eating non-vegetarian food together. She claims that Umar Khalid has PTSD from an ‘assassination attempt’ and that their life became exponentially difficult after the 2016 sedition case. It is pertinent to note that Umar Khalid was rusticated from JNU for one semester after an internal inquiry and the Delhi Govt itself, after much delay, gave a nod for hearing in the case – Umar has not got a clean chit yet in the case and is unlikely to get one, given that his involvement in the seditious slogans being raised in JNU was clear as day.

A theme in the interview of Umar’s partner is that she wishes to reiterate over and over again that Umar Khalid is ‘educated’. She first says that the campaign against Umar Khalid (which was basically holding him accountable for the Jihad he had unleashed) was unleashed because people wanted to silence him and what he represented – the educated Muslim. Later in the interview, she claims that people in Tihar respected Khalid and her, perhaps because they were educated.

One has to wonder, what the point of this Times of India article was. The interview did not shed light on any of the charges against Umar Khalid, not even a factual refutation of them. As mentioned earlier, even if the aim was to whitewash Umar Khalid’s role in the Delhi anti-Hindu riot, one would expect some details as to how the ‘partner’ thinks, factually, he is being wrongly incarcerated. None of that was added. It was merely about how much she loves and misses him, how much he liked to travel, how he gets her chocolates when they meet in prison, etc.

While one could laugh and dismiss these shenanigans, humanising terrorists is a potent tool that has been used by the media and their Islamist-Leftist brethren innumerable times before to ensure that the world disbelieves the facts against the terrorist presented to them because their vision would be coloured by just how likeable and relatable the terrorist it.

The expectation is simple – when one reads this interview, one would imagine oneself in such a situation. What if my husband was thrown in jail? I would feel the same, one would think. I would miss him too, he would get me chocolates too, he would be traumatised as well and you would fight for his release, just like so many people are. The aim is to establish an emotional connection to the average citizen who gets emotionally blinded into supporting a hardened terrorist, ignoring the facts of the case, based purely on emotions and how relatable the terrorist and his friends and family seem. With such articles, the media hopes that Umar’s girlfriend’s cause would become the cause of the average citizen, with the facts being suppressed and summarily ignored – it would not matter what Umar did. It would only matter that he is your average boy next door with people who love him, and he deserves to be freed. The emotionally coloured lens would then result in people not only ignoring the facts but refusing the belief in them altogether.

Another interesting aspect is how the girlfriend harps on how educated Umar Khalid is. This too, adds to the charade of innocence. For the average citizen, violence is the business of the uneducated, the louts, and the goons – why would someone pursuing a PhD be involved in such unspeakable crimes? These articles play on the long-held stereotypes of the ‘educated’ that are generally harboured by people. The fact, that Islamists and Jihadis are very often educated folks is forgotten because the media, which is supposed to remind people of the truth, brushes it under the carpet themselves.

Not just Umar Khalid, Yasin Malik whitewashed and humanised by Hindustan Times

While Umar Khalid was being humanised by the Times of India, Yasin Malik, a Kashmiri terrorist responsible for the death of several Hindus, was being eulogised by the Hindustan Times. In the article, before HT even recounted the charges against him, they spoke about how Yasin had turned to non-violence – this – after the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Kashmiri Hindus of which he was actively part.

“In 1994, after spending four years in prison in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh jails, he not only announced a unilateral ceasefire for the JKLF but also gave up arms, which led to a split in the organisation that had hundreds of armed cadres on the ground in Kashmir. Malik later started pursuing non-violence and used to hold hunger strikes as he said he was influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. He also developed communications with civil society members across the country and outside”, HT wrote.

This immediately gives people the impression that while now there is a clamour to give him the death penalty, Yasin Malik was a man who was fighting for “freedom” but had then turned to non-violence because he idolised MK Gandhi, just like any political leader of India, however, the truth is far from it, His history is violence and laden with Jihad against the Kafirs – who he contributed in the genocide of.

Humanising terrorists – Not just Umar Khalid, but a pattern oft repeated by the media

This emotional blackmailing is almost a pattern with the media, every time Jihadis are caught on the wrong foot – especially those who they wish to project as the voice of the voiceless Muslims. There have been several such incidents in the past where hardened Jihadis and terrorists were humanised so people would forget their crimes and only remember what nice, average, relatable folks they were.

In 2019, after the jihadi terrorist head of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, Zakir Musa was killed by the Armed Forces, there were some media outlets which tried to whitewash his crimes and humanised him. In a report published by News 18 on the slain terrorist Musa, prosaic information about him was used to project as if he was a rock star or movie actor. The report highlighted inconsequential information like how Musa’s father Abdul Rasheed Bhat, an engineer by profession, had received a packet containing an iPhone, iPod, and three debit cards in 2013. Zakir Musa’s decision to become an armed terrorist has been represented in the report as a father’s sorrow of his son ‘sacrificing’ luxury. The report quoted the terrorist’s friends saying how Musa loved hair gels, expensive deodorants, new clothes and shoes. The report also attempted to find the ‘trigger’ that ‘made’ the so-called “Young boy who loved sports bikes and cigarettes” join terrorists. In Musa’s case, the report says it was probably because of the incident when he was ‘slapped by a policeman’ and falsely accused of stone-pelting.

Perhaps, the most brazen attempt to whitewash the crimes committed by a terrorist was done by none other than ‘illustrious journalist’ Barkha Dutt. Soon after Burhan Wani, then Hizbul Commander in Kashmir was neutralised by the Armed Forces in an encounter in 2016, Dutt lost no time in putting out a tweet describing Wani as a “headmaster’s son” instead of calling him simply what he was- a wretched terrorist. The murderous Islamist tendencies exhibited by Wani held no significance but his father’s profession as a headmaster of a school was considered as an important nugget of information to be used to characterise him. This is a classic case of how Indian journalists provide fodder to Pakistan and separatists based in Jammu and Kashmir. Once the terrorist is described in humanising terms, all his egregious sins perpetrated by him are whitewashed while the Armed Forces and the state that ordered his elimination are subject to incessant vitriol for killing “a headmaster’s son”.

In fact, in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, several of the mainstream media organisations proceeded to rationalise the dastardly act of Adil Dhar, the terrorist who rammed an explosive-laden car into one of the vehicles of the CRPF convoy, killing 40 CRPF personnel. Dhar’s parents were interviewed by many mainstream media channels where they were seen diminishing their son’s terror act. India Today interviewed Dhar’s parents who reasoned that his son became a terrorist after Armed troops beat him up while he was returning from his school. Very cunningly, Dhar’s parents pass the buck on to the Security Forces by asserting that their son chose the path of terrorism only because he was thrashed by the Armed Forces, which again is an unsubstantiated claim.

The Hindustan Times also carried the interview, solidifying the attempts made to humanise Dhar and provide a justification for the monstrous act perpetrated by him. The HT too published the parents’ version of their son’s humiliating encounter with the Army which pushed him into joining Jaish-e-Muhammad. 

In fact, since we are talking about Umar Khalid, one only needs to look at how Jihadis during the Delhi anti-Hindu riots were humanised and whitewashed. Remember Shahrukh Pathan? The man who pulled a gun at a police officer? The media had tried their best to note only prove he was a Hindu, but then whitewash him after it was proved he wasn’t.

In his show ‘Prime Time’ on 26th February 2020, Ravish Kumar resorted to spreading half-truths and full lies about the horrifying spate of violence that had engulfed the national capital. In pursuance of what appeared as his agenda to tarnish Hindus and portray them as the aggressors of the riots, Kumar identified Mohammad Shahrukh alias Shahrukh Pathan, who fired at Delhi Police personnel on February 24, as one ‘Anurag Mishra’.

When that agenda failed, The Quint stepped in and tried to humanise Pathan. In August 2021, 18 months after the 25-year-old Delhi anti-Hindu riots accused Shahrukh Pathan was arrested for brandishing a gun at the police and threatening them, The Quint published a white paper on him watering down his crime and making him appear like a cherubic saint. The Quint started by describing his menacing march as ‘brazen confidence in his gait’. Then the writer of the ‘Shahrukh Pathan fan page’ romanticised his criminal act. “Unfazed by the policemen in riot gear, he shot bullets in the air while media persons captured his acts in astonishment. The fact that the gym enthusiast, who was also a local, did not wear a mask to hide his identity, made his ‘bravado’ seem peculiar and odd,” the author wrote.

The Quint then went on to explain how his friends described Shahrukh as someone who was into grooming and was interested in his appearance. He was characterised as someone who was a biryani-lover, liked to put gel in his hair, blow dry them, wear crisp, ironed shirts, good shoes and well, make TikTok videos. The author interviewed Pathan’s mother, who obviously had glowing views about her son. She said her son was innocent and ‘simple-minded’. Shahrukh’s mother also highlighted counterfactual scenarios in order to water down her son’s criminality. She told his fans at The Quint that she often wonders, “What if she had given him food when he asked? What if the timing was a few minutes before or after namaz?”

The Quint essentially painted Shahrukh Pathan as a boy-next-door, interested in grooming, who perhaps would not turn into a Jihadi and participate in the anti-Hindu riots if only his mother had fed him on time – a ridiculous proposition, but one that is used effectively by the media to humanise Muslim criminals.

A privilege only reserved for Muslim accused

For the liberal media, the privilege of being seen as cherubic saints is only reserved for hardened criminals who work against the interest of India, murder Hindus and Jihadis who actively work towards ‘teaching Kafirs a lesson’. When a Hindu is brutally murdered by these very jihadis, they not only proceed to humanise the murderer but dehumanise the Hindu victim.

During the Delhi anti-Hindu riots, IB official Ankit Sharma was brutally murdered. He was stabbed so many times that his intestines lay outside his body. On the other hand, Dilbar Negi, another Hindu, was murdered mercilessly. His hands and legs were chopped off while he was alive and then he was burnt to death. In both these cases, the accused were humanised and the victims, dehumanised.

In the case of Ankit Sharma, where Tahir Hussain was involved, The Wire, AltNews and others tried to paint Hussain as the victim of the riots who was trying to call for help. These assertions were debunked summarily, but one can’t underscore the effort by these portals. On the other hand, Ankit Sharma’s murder was whitewashed. The Wire wrote in its report that Ankit Sharma was “stabbed to death”, as if, it was a normal murder during the course of communal tension and not a well-thought-out, planned murder by Tahir Hussain and a mob who stabbed him over 40 times. In the case of Dilbar Negi too, the brutal details were carefully hidden as The Wire wrote that Negi died of ‘burnt injuries’.

Again, this phenomenon of dehumanising Hindu victims is not a new one. A few years back, Rajdeep Sardesai exposed his own hypocrisy when he asked others to stop politics over dead bodies. It is a bit rich coming from someone who rose to prominence in the journalism arena by politicising charred dead bodies of innocent people in a train burning incident in Godhra in 2002 and the ensuing communal riots. Rajdeep had also written a moving piece when journalist Shujaat Bukhari was brutally murdered. What is interesting, is that when Hindu Activist Prashant Poojari was murdered, Rajdeep had written a piece trying to whitewash the crime and assert that his murder had a “political context”. 

Shujaat Bukhari’s murder was tragic, however, the fact remains that Bhukhari harboured terribly anti-India views which were expressed quite freely. While he was eulogised, a Hindu victim, Prashant Poojari was dehumanised by giving his murder by Jihadis a ‘political context’, as if being murdered for political reasons is less heinous and therefore, should be ignored.

I have, in fact, written extensively about the onslaught which was unleashed after I had reported a little boy missing after the Hauz Qazi communal incident. In Hauz Qazi, a temple was desecrated by a jihadi mob even urinating on the murtis, according to local Hindus. As the mob went on a rampage, a 14-year-old Hindu boy went missing. With the parents of the boy threatening to kill themselves while clutching the FIR, it was but the duty of a journalist to report the news. The mainstream media kept silent, in fact, the journalist on the ground simply walked away from the wailing parents. When the news was reported by me, Newslaundry claimed that it fanned communal tension. When the boy was found post our report, Newslaundry claimed that OpIndia was fear-mongering because the boy was found alive. Essentially, for the liberal media, Hindu lives are so cheap that they deserve a cursory report only if Hindus turn up dead. Otherwise, a little boy missing is not news because it outraged the Muslims further. If this was a Muslim child who had gone missing, the response would be different. Just like the Liberal media tried to whitewash the Jihadi mob during Hauz Qazi, they would work overtime to demonise the Hindus as a Muslim boy went missing.

There is no low, it would seem, that the liberal, corporate media and their paymasters would not fall to. The mandate has been clear for decades and what we see with Umar Khalid and the Delhi anti-Hindu riots is merely a repeat of it – humanise terrorists and Jihadis, dehumanise their victims and always.. always blame the Hindus while shielding the Muslims. There is no mandate greater. There is no treachery more sinister.

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