The GOI made a spectacular discovery on August 18. They discovered that all the images and reports about Muslims being killed in Burma and which provoked riots at various places in India came from around 76 websites. Importantly, a large number of them were from Pakistan. So blame it on Pakistan. Okay! This was our media tom-toming a statement from Home Secretary, R.K.Singh. After the violence in Azad Maidan, Mumbai, on August 11 there was a sudden exodus of NE people from Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. This exodus was stated to be based on fear-mongering by SMS threats and blew up to a large scale on the evening of August 15. Depending on where the moon rises, the number of NE citizens who have fled mostly southern cities ranges from 20000 to 30000, according to our honest and reliable news media. Go ahead, choose your own number!
Since the Assam violence started our media has offered us many excuses to not cover the events thoroughly. Logistics, not enough deaths, no OB vans and the hilarious list can go. What is amazing is none of them are even willing to report the truth that is right in front of them. Maybe the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) decided once again not to report Muslim violence as they once did when riots occurred over a mosque in the Jangpura area of Delhi. On August 17 after Friday prayers a group came out in Lucknow to continue protests over Burma and Assam. They also vandalised public property as also statues of Buddha and Lord Mahavir at public parks. They also attacked media personnel who were covering the event but images of the violence did get around.
It seems TOI didn’t know which group was indulging in the violence in Lucknow even as the police looked on helplessly. Well, TOI gave us a thorough description of these people in their report. I quote: “LUCKNOW: A mob tried to disturb communal harmony in Lucknow by indulging in violence and arson under the garb of agitation to protest violence against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar. Around 50 people dressed as Muslims, wearing skull caps and scarves, created ruckus in the crowded Hazratganj area violence soon after Friday prayer”. Garb? Dressed up? Oh well, that’s how media reports when it comes to a certain group. I was naturally curious after the TOI report and after extensive research found that it was a disgruntled group of angels from Puerto Rico that had dressed up as Muslims and were agitating in Lucknow. Something even tells me they are disgruntled because they were agitating for gay rights in their homeland. I wish TOI had gone a bit further and blamed Puerto Rico just as our govt now blames Pakistan.
That Lucknow bit was fanciful from TOI. But what about those wild SMSes that sent out threats to the NE folks to quit. Nothing to worry! You see, faster than police or any intelligence agency can investigate, our media ‘exodus-specialists’ have all the answers. There is the Social Genius, of course, and we now have Johny-come-lately Mihir Sharma. This bimbo sounds like a conspiracy specialist. No, I’m not talking about Sagarika here!
Both the Social Genius and Sharma imply through their tweets that the Hindu RSS had spread the threats and were then playing angels helping the fleeing North Easterners at Bangalore station. While Sagarika asks “What is the agenda here?” Sharma even modifies a tweet to make his implications pretty clear. It’s RSS who should be nailed for this.
After all the sermons over keeping rumours out, not spreading fear and doling out sympathy for the victims what do our media charlatans do? They do exactly the opposite of what they preach. Spread rumours, spread hate and even spread hate against those who were helping the NE at Bangalore station. Truth is, they don’t have any more information than you and I do. But it’s alright! Karnataka police on August 18 arrested a few people (Again, Puerto Ricans?) from Bangalore and I quote the TOI report (Damn! This time they disclosed the names, shame on TOI!)
Bangalore: Director general of police Lalrokhuma Pachau claimed police caught three persons sending hate SMSs and MMSs, after a raid at an electronic shop in Koramangala on Saturday. He said the investigating team received information that Anees Pasha, 26… started spreading rumours through SMSs and uploading videos electronically to incite hatred against people from the northeast region…. Anees told police that he and his associates were sending SMSs to a large number of people which wrongly depicted violence in the northeast. Pachau said the mischief played by Anees and his brother, Thaseem Nawaz, 32, of Platinum Court in BTM I Stage, and an associate Shahid Salman Khan, 22, of Teachers' Colony in Venkatapura, had resulted in the panic and fear.Let’s come back to the Pakistani websites. There are quite a few websites that faked the images of Muslim victims of violence, whether all of them were Pakistani or not. But did the crowds at Azad Maidan gather and indulge in violence because of these websites. It wouldn’t appear to be so. I am once again producing a tweet from someone who received fliers which had those gory images and these leaflets were inviting Muslims to Azad Maidan to join the protest. This was on August 10. Some of the elements at Azad Maidan came prepared with stones, rocks, iron rods for the peaceful protest. These images may have been reproduced from the websites but were the leaflets being distributed by Pakistanis? The invitation to Azad Maidan came through such leaflets, SMSes, Tweets and FB pages. None of the tweets or FB pages appears to have put up any images. So even if there were provocative but fake images on websites what did the damage was probably the printed leaflets circulated by leaders of the agitation which ended up in violence. Were these printed in Pakistan too? The Internet has many provocative images of all kinds. But it is those who used it on the ground in print that resulted in the chaos.
Even so, why did it take so long for the media and govt to get to this information of images on websites? When I saw the tweet and image shown above, a simple search told me these were faked. Like many others, I had also tweeted a link to the site by a Pakistani blogger, Farhaz Ahmed, who had systematically explained the misuse of these images. Some in the online news media even carried articles about these fake pics and the explanation. So how come the govt is now claiming these websites were the one to provoke violence. This reflects poorly on the Intelligence mechanism of the state and the mainstream media. In one stroke the govt has happily blamed Pakistan and our dubious and deceptive media is happy to run that line instead of confronting the govt with actual facts and chain of events. I had tweeted about the web images being fake on August 12. It took the govt 6 more days to realise this? Amazing! What about the media? Were they sleeping too? This information was available all over the net but most in the media were busy blaming Hindus, RSS and even “Third parties”. I would call this criminal neglect by news media of their duties.
Sagarika and Sharma weren’t the only ones spreading rumours. There were many other journalists who indulged in excessive misinformation, hate and sermons to the public. That’s what you get with a compromised media. Far from challenging the govt on the lies about these violent incidents, threats and exodus our media is happy setting the platform for them to spin facts. Expect more lies to follow. According to the media and govt. illegal Bangladeshis weren’t involved in Assam violence. All the other violence was caused by Pakistani websites. Both Bangladesh and Pakistan must be laughing.