In his book of ‘7 Habits’ the late Stephen Covey discusses the principle of “Measure twice, cut once”. It’s a principle that tailors and carpenters have followed religiously for ages as a professional practice. Once cut, cannot be reversed. The same should be true for those claiming to be journalists. Before shooting off something they need to fact-check, they need to double-check. As ordinary folks, you and I can believe events and pics from anywhere but why should paid journalists be fooled by those? But even ordinary people are now measuring twice. In the previous post I had talked about the dubious and frivolous nature of IBN editors’ comments. That IBN is a communal channel that hates anything in saffron is not a big secret. Here’s another one from the channel who shot off her fingers:
Her name is Rituparna Chatterjee and she does something with movies in CNN-IBN and her Twitter handle is appropriately named “Masalabai”. On August 6 she tweeted pics claiming Baba Ramdev was “gettin’ jiggy” with it. Someone points out the pics are not real BRD. She insists “it is”. Turns out the guy was Sunil Talwar (some alleged actor) portraying BRD and dancing around. Masalabai then says “In all likelihood a morphed picture or a lookalike. I take no responsibility”. Fact: The pics she tweeted were from the same pages that reported Sunil Talwar in BRD garb that is shown above. So she deliberately and mischievously tweeted the pics. That’s right; if alleged journalists took some ‘responsibility’ there wouldn’t be so much contempt for our media.
So when a mall in Ahmedabad, Himalaya Mall, decided to charge Rs.20 as entry fee on Eid weekend beginning Friday, August 9 the Times Of India screamed this was being charged only from Muslims. Welcome to Rambo-II: The lies of India. The TOI from being a respected journal now has many names. It’s called the TOI-let paper. If that sounds offensive some call it a more respectable “Slimes of India”. Here’s how they screamed:
The report claimed discrimination against Muslims in “Narendra Modi’s Gujarat”. Some people pointed out that anti-India violence, LeT flags hoisted and shops and houses burnt at Kishtwar (in J&K) is not in “Omar Abdullah’s J&K” but some mall charging an entry fee in Ahmedabad becomes associated with Modi. That’s why TOI is known “slimes” and they’re not alone in this hate-Modi campaign. But like that bimbo Masalabai there’s that other bimbo of IBN who shoots off his mouth. Here’s Ashutosh, again first off the block with mindless hatred:
So he falls for the story, doesn’t measure twice and shoots off his prejudiced, hate-filled head and even says that India will not breathe if we don’t heed these warning signs. My response? Breathe in a bit of Gujarat! YES. Inhale crap from IBN, NO! Even Rajdeep Sardesai couldn’t resist the temptation.
But in this case let’s give Rajdeep the benefit of doubt. After all, with a “Suprabhat” he was merely tweeting headlines as they appeared in media. Not only that, he also had his local reporter double-check on the situation and offered a clarification while slamming the “Slimes of India”. So where does that leave the “Liars of India”? This Himalaya Mall in Ahmedabad is located in a predominantly Hindu area in Ahmedabad. There might be just a minor sprinkling of Muslim households in a radius of 5 kms of this mall. Of course, on a festive holiday Muslims can turn up from far-off places too, especially when you consider new movies release on Friday. This time the rush must have been for SRK-Deepika’s ‘Chennai Express’. Let’s first look at all the reports of August 10:
TOI Ahmedabad Mirror reports “Mall charges visitors Eidi”. Then TOI main edition carries the story as “On Eid, Ahmedabad mall charges entry fee from Muslims”. The latter edition clearly reports discrimination against Muslims. Following the outrage on SM and Twitter TOI stated they stand by the story: “Profiling on Eid indeed took place at Ahmedabad mall”. Here are two pics that were included in the Ahmedabad Mirror report.
Observe closely that unless you’re wearing a skullcap or the traditional (Pathani?) Muslim dress it is hard to tell if you’re a Muslim. If the US profiles Muslims at its immigration checks it’s by the names in the passports and other IDs. Even Kamal Haasan was held up because his name sounds like a Muslim one although he claims to be an atheist. That would be “profiling”. How in the world can you tell if a man is Muslim (other than the caps, long beard or garb). Most Muslim men dress the same way as a Hindu or a Christian. One can mostly tell a Sikh by the turban, although there are Sikhs who don’t wear one. So this crap from TOI is merely based on loose-talk and rumours. In the top pic, most of the people in the queue and getting in are not in any Muslim garb. Or to rephrase AK Antony “they were dressed up as Hindus”? Women at the mall were anyway allowed in free so thankfully that hasn’t become an issue.
I visit this Himalaya Mall quite frequently and know for a fact that the open floor at the mall can hold no more than 200-300 people comfortably at one time. The management claims a footfall of 10000 on a normal day which goes up to 30000 on holidays/festival days. So one can imagine the rush and the security threats it poses. Even in the rush it is impossible that a majority of visitors are Muslims. In that location, it is always Hindus in a huge majority. So the TOI group has done nothing more than a “whack-job” (to use a mafia term). People who have visited the mall on Friday (including my friends) have laughed at the idea of discrimination against Muslims. The entire reporting is either based on loose-talk and hearsay or a pure unadulterated filth. If there had indeed been discrimination the entire media, along with TOI, would have feasted on the incident. The TOI seems to be motivated as reflected in their “view” appended at the end of the TOI edition:
Now what exactly does the action of private business units like malls have to do with Narendra Modi? Well, that is precisely the motive behind the TOI’s whack-job. The mall is just a nail to hammer Modi with. TOI seems sworn to a policy of tarring Modi no matter what. Even with fake stories. I call this entire episode of “discrimination against Muslims” by TOI a fraudulent piece of reporting. TOI has a tradition of spewing nonsense and standing by its stories. It carried that fraudulent piece of “Rambo Act” by Modi during the Uttarakhand floods. It stood by the fake story till the entire media had milked it dry. Then 15 or 21 days later the paper made a small retraction in small corner on page 8 or 9. Lie BIG, retract SMALL. That’s the rule with news media and TOI is the leader.
The Himalaya Mall is reported to have issued a circular (image above) to its store owners that such an entry fee will be charged due to expected rush. Their notice informs the stores to redeem the Rs.20 fee against purchases made by the visitor. So practically, a visitor paying the fee gets a refund if he purchases something, which most Mall visitors do. Here’s a tweet from someone in Kochi mentioning a mall charges Rs.100 entry fee which can be redeemed against purchases. It is neither a strange nor an unusual practice that would call for discrimination against any community.
Business units neither like such adverse publicity nor the associated controversies. They prefer to get out of these. The Himalaya Mall has since dropped the entry fee since these reports which TOI’s Ahmedabad Mirror proclaims is because of its reports. Load of rubbish! Business units know newspapers and media blackmail them with the threat of more adverse reports if they are challenged. Himalaya Mall just took the simple way out and dropped the entry fee. The criminal here is TOI. Look the URL below:
The first time on August 10, the URL report was “Mall charges visitors Eidi”. Now the same URL says “Mall scraps ‘unfair’ entry fee” (The link I posted earlier with the pics is a snapshot I retained of the first headlined article. Yeah, people have to keep snapshots owing to the deception of media). If what TOI reported was true, why did they delete their original report and replace it with the new headline? This is a fraud on the readers. This is nothing but Rambo-II: The Lies of India. Lesson for news consumers: Never trust the media or the reporters at the first instance, except for live visuals that you see. Wait for a double-check and confirmation on social media or from your own references.