Indian Press! Don’t pour oil into the fire

This trend of the Press reporting the religion of a mob-justice victim is fine; but I wonder why it is one-directional.

For example, take some samples:

  • Six Sikhs beaten by a mob in Ajmer;
  • One muslim lynched in Alwar;
  • Muslim man lynched in Pratapgarh.

On the other hand if a Hindu is lynched, the headline is:

  • Six people mob-attacked in Jodhpur;
  • Two men die in mob violence in Bastar.
  • Seven pilgrims dead in cross-fire with militants in Anantnag

There is no mention of the word Hindu in a headline, if the dead is a Hindu; the reverse is true for a minority facing any criminal act.

Hear me out; this is a secular analysis and I am not a rightist. Tell me, where I am wrong; I will correct myself.

Okay, every year there are say about a thousand odd mob-attacks in India due to variety of reasons, be they road-rage, over girls, college violence, over land and whatnot. Statistics are available, they can be checked. Violence against SC-STs are tallied separately.

In a country of 125 crore, there are 15% Muslims, 1.8% Sikhs and so on; and around 25% total SC-STs.

So, mathematically speaking; crimes and violence would be distributed evenly across victims of all religions and back-grounds. Out of a thousand odd mob-violence incidents and murders in a country of 125 crore; about 150 are bound to be against Muslims, around 18 are bound to be against Sikhs and around 250 are bound to be against SC-STs.

Is there a bias that one has studied or analysed? Picking one incident and pointing to the religion of the victim or the perpetrators is pointless and biased, in my humble opinion; UNLESS the crime is communally motivated, of course.

There was a hue and cry over 6 Sikhs being beaten up by a mob in Ajmer. I was sent that video by atleast 5 friends on my list crying over how Sikhs are now being targeted in Rajasthan. No one every asked as to why these six Sikhs were begging for alms in the name of a fake Gurdwara in the same village (400 kms from their residence) for three days at a stretch. What happened, no one knows clearly, but the incident was given communal colours at the drop of a hat. No one questioned that Gurdwaras dont beg for alms on streets; they get enough from offerings. I can bet that on that very day, many Hindus would have been beaten up on roads in the country at several places over similar incidents. That is the country we have lived in for ages. I am not justifying it, but we have all seen crime and mob-fights happening all across us; no country is immune from crime, except perhaps the Scandinavian countries.

As a college student, I have been beaten up, have beaten up boys over small issues; that is the way we live college life in India. So, a Meena gets beaten up, a Rajput gets beaten up or a Jat, no big deal; but if a Kashmiri muslim gets beaten up, it is national news; pray, why? What hell has broken lose that is not broken on other boys; unless the incident is clearly communal; a fact that is never clear.

A CPI-M worker died a few days back in Dungarpur, Rajasthan; no one yet knows how; the allegations are running thick and fast. But the press has given a judgement already. “A muslim man lynched by a Hindu mob…” I am sure that on the very same day many Hindus died in similar attacks at alteast a dozen places in India; who cares!

Being a Sikh, a Muslim or a Dalit does not protect you from regular crimes; you face the same risk that every other Hindu faces; a turban does not give you a cloak of protection; a Muslim name does not make you immune to theft, murders or mob violence; out of every 1000 crimes, minority is as much at risk as the Hindu neighbour is.

An analysis of records of the National Crime Bureau Records shows that there has been no increase in crimes against minorities in recent years. Why then the sudden paranoia being spread as if minorities are under attack.

Year

Muslim

Christian

Sikh

Buddhist

Parsi

Jain

Others

Total

2011-12

1743

202

200

53

9

0

232

2439

2012-13

1508

199

150

35

10

0

225

2127

2013-14

1988

187

186

45

13

8

211

2638

2014-15

1436

119

131

34

10

60

205

1995

2015-16 (Till 28 March 16)

1422

145

121

32

11

49

175

1955

No one ever does an analys, I miss the days when the press was more responsible; and did not stoke fire into the embers of communal flare-ups. The coverage has to be balanced, not selective.

More reading: Subsequent to my blog above, I came across this article, which underlines in a better researched way what I have tried to stay instinctively. Check this out. http://www.thehoot.org/story_popup/selective-coverage-of-atrocities-9976

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