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It is not easy to describe what is happening in India [and Indian media] right now.

Top media houses that were once looked upon and had set standards of journalism, have fallen into disgrace.

They not just promote fake news but reward journalists who fan hatred through fake stories based on rumours or tweets of parody accounts.

Ethics have been thrown off the window. Any false claim can be made and any incident can be twisted to suit the agenda. Each and every day, many anchors on several TV channels are trying to outdo each other in how much fake news they can spread and how much they could do to divide Indian society on religious lines.

This is just unbelievable. Till a few years ago, one couldn't even imagine that Indian media would fall to such levels. Journalists who refuse to toe the line are being shown the door. However, those who spread venom day in and day out, are getting rewarded.
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'You don't look like Muslim'.

Many people have heard it time and again from non-Muslim friends.

This is because it is deeply embedded in the minds that Muslims are backward.

It's a bias, they have grown up with. Either at home or through media, the society--it's conditioning.

Backward, on what social indicators? How the entire Muslim community can be termed backward?

And aren't Hindus backward? But many Muslims also keep repeating the line 'Muslims are backward'.

Either its sex ratio or discrimination with women and girl child, infant mortality rate or malnutrition, dowry deaths or other many more indicators, Muslims aren't backward.

Yes, as far as education is concerned, Muslims are a bit behind. But there are Hindus too, large sections who are far behind. Visit rural parts of the country or tribal hamlets, you'll see the poorest of poor--sans proper clothes, malnourished and without bare minimum facilities.

More people who die of hunger or the poor and homeless who die because of natural factors--heat or cold in extreme seasons, while sleeping in the open, are Hindu.

Muslims are more urbanized and have a different social system, a parallel economy, that helps them survive. But by parroting the sentence that Muslims are backward, we too fall in this trap.

It is defaming Muslims for no reason. There are tremendously educated people among Muslims, there are actors and sports persons, there are Muslim achievers in all fields just like in Hindus or Sikhs, Christians or Jains.

Yes, benefits of schemes don't reach large section of Muslim masses just like certain other sections. Often, state policies and lack of due representation are among the reasons. But that doesn't make Muslims 'backward'.

Muslims are trying hard to progress despite the fact that they are under-represented in jobs, in politics, and don't get reservation. Still, the community members are working hard, trying to move despite all odds.

But we should get rid of this 'backward community' narrative. It is not at all true that Muslims are backward. There is poverty, there are issues, but terming 'Indian Muslims' as a whole is backward, is wrong.

It has no basis. It is just an attempt to sully the image of Muslims.

Photo courtesy ShutterStock in Hindustan Times. LINK
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Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

A member of parliament (MP) says that Muslims should leave India and yet there is no action taken against him by his party.

Forget, even the talk of disciplinary action, there is no need to even dissociate or distance itself from his statement (by the party).

In any mature democracy, a responsible political party would be ashamed that its leader made such a fascist, communal and racist comment but NOT in India.

It's normal here, unfortunately.

Vinay Katiyar doesn't have any qualms in making hate speeches or outrageous comments because speeches that seem to rival Nazi hate propaganda and threats against minorities, are considered normal in India.

Katiyar has been an MP for several terms. Besides, he has been national general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which claims to be the biggest political party in the world on account of its membership.

Just days ago, he made another vicious remark during Kasganj violence. He said that pro-Pakistanis were involved in violence. The word 'Pakistani' is directed at Muslims time and again to show him/her their place because of being a religious minority and doubt the Muslims' patriotism.

If, in the world's biggest democracy, the senior leader of the main party can make such statements and get away, you can have an understanding about the manner in which democracy functions in the country.

Katiyar, 63, hails from Kanpur. He has been a member of Lok Sabha from Faizabad, several times in the past. Right now, he is a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the parliament. There are specific laws against hate speech in India.

The privileges-clout enjoyed by politicians ensure that they can get away with anything--spreading hate or even instigating communal riots. Media hasn't been too harsh on him for the 'outrageous' statement.

It is commonly said that such people should be ignored but the problem is that he is no 'fringe voice' and ignoring has brought us to the situation where there are dozens of hate-mongers, as no one has fear of law. Besides, abusing or threatening Muslims is a sure-shot way to succeed in right-wing politics.

1. BJP's Vinay Katiyar continues his hate-mongering, says Muslims should leave India
2. Katiyar demand for Muslims to leave India shows BJP is cranking up hate machine for 2019
3. Outrageous statements shouldn’t be taken lightly: Katiyar said Taj Mahal would be turned into temple
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That's the real power of pen, or byte, in our times--destroying lives.

Irresponsible reporting and you ruin lives just because you want to create sensation or because of your biases (communal) against certain sections of society.

A girl was wrongly termed 'fidayeen'. 'a bomber'. On Republic day, the news flashed on TV screens. Suddenly, there was fear and alarm.

All the major issues were now forgotten, as this 'sensational news' was on TV channels. By next day, it was forgotten. There were no follow-ups or no apologies for wrong and misleading reporting.

So what happened to the girl? How she was termed a bomber? The fact is that there was not even an FIR registered in this case. She was not even arrested. Yet, it became national news on Republic Day, creating panic and fear.

Some websites reported how the girl returned to Pune. Others mentioned that the news was a hoax. Hoax? And all fell for it?* There, she said that how this incident affected her career.

"The J&K Police have sent an email to Pune police clearing me of all the falsehoods. Unfortunately, because of the wrong and biased media reports and campaign against me, on 27 January, the college abruptly cancelled my admission for the nursing course".

However, even in these reports, her name was mentioned, which again demonizes her. How irresponsible and shabby, journalism can be in India. It's just a reflection of it. And this has been the norm here for decades.

Why media does it, again and again?

Come Jan 26 and Aug 15, when security is at its peak, such stories appear, year after year same pattern. This year too there was flash on channels 'fidayeen girl from Pune caught', without any confirmation.

All over India hundreds of people are stopped during security check on R-Day or I-Day. Four-wheelers, scooters, all sorts of vehicles are checked. This is rotuine.

Now you cleverly write, 'Suspect caught, terror link not ruled out'. Who can deny this? Those reporters who never get a scoop other wise, can sell this to boss as page 1 story. Power of pen! Happens in all states, cities.

Of course, security agencies feel good, it shows their alacrity on important days, that they are working hard, no blame either, journos doing it for them. Communal bias is another aspect.

The 'other' is always a suspect and while putting pen to paper, this is reflected. So what if lives are ruined! As far as victim is concerned, once the ordeal is over, they are so exhausted and relieved that they don't even think of taking legal steps.

Besides, when there are dozens of media houses, agencies, newspapers, channels. How many can you drag to courts? And once again it requires resources--money, links and power. If you don't have it, you can't do it.

Besides, it affects the person's own life. Hence, the victim also tries to rorget and forgive. That's how the world goes. This is how journalism works in the country.
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Ram Avtar, the soldier, has left behind a son & a 3-month-old daughter. Tragic.

Compensation no substitute to the tragedy--growing up without father.

What sort of power when you can't stop these deaths. India is strong, aren't we?

But what use when can't stop deaths. Is there any strategy!!!


It makes headlines, rouses patriotic feelings, anger but what about families, these kids? TV channels continue to exploit the feelings, fuel rage. Deaths continue.

But that's no solution. Govt unable to stop it, deal with it. It's not that they can't but they are clearly not interested.

Dialogues can reduce it. But who will accept it? This needs statesmanship, leadership. The rhetoric of war can't solve this. Political class and constant war-mongering by section of media have brought us here, that any suggestion for peace talks is considered blasphemy.
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A man who drove into a mosque in United Kingdom, has been given a jail term of 43 years.

The man, Darren Osborne, had plowed into the crowd of devotees at mosque, killing a man--Mukaram Ali, and injuring nearly a dozen others.

This incident had occurred in London. Osborne, 48, has been jailed for 43 years, with no chance of parole. Osborne had driven a rented van into devotees who were leaving the evening prayers during the Ramzan.

"The prosecutors said Osborne was motivated by a hatred of Muslims and was radicalized by online far-right and Islamophobic propaganda", reports NY Post.

The judge said that Osborne's mind had been poisoned by far-right extremist ideas and he showed no signs of remorse. Your mindset became one of the malevolent hatred, the judge said, adding that, 'this was a terrorist attack. you intended to kill'.
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Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) 'thinker' Prof Rakesh Sinha made a highly objectionable statement on TV.

During a debate, he alleged issued the threat. He clearly gave the warning that, 'you won't be able to survive for more than 15 seconds'.

Surprisingly, this didn't lead to much outrage. Media largely ignored it. A few websites did cover it, for example, Janta Ka Reporter. There was no action, no FIR and not even any attempt to make him apologise.

"Sinha told the panelist representing the AIMIM, “I am not even talking about Asim Waqar (from AIMIM) whose leader (Akbaruddin Owaisi) wanted police removed for 15 minutes. I am saying that if there’s a retaliation against them, forget 15 minutes, you wouldn’t even survive 15 seconds", reports the website.

"Sinha later told Janta Ka Reporter that his comments were not intended towards Muslims adding that he was merely referring to the AIMIM leaders", the website further mentions. Still, wasn't it a threat? Didn't he make the comments? The video is quite clear that he gave the threat.

This is in sharp contrast to AIMIM leader Akbar Owaisi's statement when he faced multiple FIRs and had led to debate on national TV channels, which continued for days.

Akbar Owaisi was arrested and had to go to jail. Surprisingly, Rakesh Sinha's comments--not in a rally but in TV studio and telecast live, caused little outrage.

This was during a debate on News24 channel. Sinha talked about AIMIM and then said that not 15 minutes, they would not be able to stand even for 15 seconds in case of retaliation. The line was
'.... 15 second nahi tik payenge......'

Clearly, there are double standards. Not only media ignored it and paid little attention, the authorities had no interest in such an open display of bigotry and warning. Else, we find people getting booked for sedition even when there is little evidence.

Watch him utter the lines after 17.45 minutes in this video below:

VIDEO: Rakesh Sinha's chilling warning on TV channel



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This is an extremely disturbing trend that is being witnessed in the world's largest democracy, India.

Several media groups seem to have taken a cue from the Nazi propaganda style and have been targeting, demonising minorities, particularly, the Muslims.

Not only they fan hatred but many journalists are openly using social media to give a call for violence.

This started a few years ago. Among major TV channels, Zee News, was among the first in Hindi while Times Now took the lead among English channels. Certain anchors were clearly inciting hate.

After the last Parliamentary election, several other groups too turned far-right. A new English channel, Republic, joined the tirade. More Hindi and English news channels also started toeing the Hindutva line.

There were some channels that were perceived as slightly less biased and more objective than others. However, there were certain anchors in these channels too who began peddling hate and lies. It was as if a competition begun as to who would outdo other anchors and other channels in spreading hate towards Muslims.

India Today group that had a certain image and was believed to be practicing fair journalism, also  began indulging in this propaganda. One of the anchors, Rohit Sardana, who has been brought from Zee group, has been the cheerleader of the extreme right-wing mob.

In the latest incident when Kasganj, a town in Uttar Pradesh, witnessed trouble on Republic Day, the TV channels were clearly involved in communal polarizing, spreading hate on the basis of rumours and not going by facts.

Local Muslims had organised an event to celebrate Republic Day. The national flags were visible all around. Suddenly, 'Tiranga Yatra' arrived that had more Bhagwa (Saffron flags) than the national flags.

There were also batons and firearms in their hands. Provocative slogans were raised on the occasion too. It was during this Yatra, that a youth, Chandan Gupta, had hit by a bullet. He later succumbed.

However, TV channels gave it a twist as if minorities have any objection to unfurling national flag.

While Muslims were celebrating Republic Day and hoisting flag, the TV channels turned into mouthpieces of far-right propagandists and repeatedly parroted lies.

Instead of questioning that who gave the Saffron forces the right to storm into any locality with Saffron flags, raise provocative slogans and rather than joining the Republic Day event, make abusive comments.

The channels went ahead, they began speaking the language of the right-wing fanatics, giving a totally different impression. Just when curfew was on in Kasganj--there was violence, houses-shops were being attacked and burnt, these TV channels were busy in reinforcing the prejudices.

Not just on TV, there were using other mediums [like Twitter] too for spreading hate. The aim was to polarize, communalize and foment trouble at a time when police and administration were trying to bring the situation under control.

Another journalist, Abhijit Majumder who is a managing editor of Mail Today [also belongs to India Today group], tweeted about another death, though there was none.

Then, there was Jagruti Shukla, who gave the open threat--her account was suspended by Twitter, but later suspension was revoked.

As a result, the situation took such a turn than when a district magistrate R Vikkram Singh, wrote on Facebook about the trend of going to particular areas, raising slogans and disturbing law-and-order, he was trolled and targeted. Finally, he had to remove the post. 
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Once again the question arises in the wake of pan-Indian violence by Karni Sena.

There are not just threats to actors or burn down theatres but also a threat to Supreme Court and even attack on school bus.

When a group gets violent, claiming to represent your community, is there need to speak up that no they're wrong, not representing us.

Need for 1-2 celebrities of the industry or leaders-bizmen-sportsmen need to condemn, speak. Or no need for it?

How many Rajput celebrities including Bollywood stars or Rajputs in Sports, Business, Army, Bureaucracy, Police have issued statements and said that we don't agree with Karni Sena (that has no respect for even SC) or that it doesn't represent us?

When it comes to Muslims, on any petty issue involving a Muslim, many of us get uneasy, unable to sit silent, start profusely apologizing for someone else's conduct just because of Muslim name and start giving justifications.

This situation comes up again and again. In some instances, people too ready, more than eager to condemn, feeling guilty for others' acts. In some cases, absolutely passive.

Ideally though, State-cops that needs to deal with lawlessness. But because it doesn't happen, there is often pressure on the community. Though many support the muscle-flexing.

Frankly, in India, people even admire 'gunda' of own community, gundagardi too. There is secret admiration--feeling that 'chalo ek taaqatwar aadmi ya group tayyar ho gaya'.

In states, regions, you hear people talking with pride about their own 'bahubali'. Love for muscle-flexing. Once a group-person gets powerful, people draw power from them. 

Throwing its name, weight, in situations. In a country, where law doesn't act equally, that's bound to happen. One can get away with arson-violence if has backing, other can be jailed under 151 without doing anything.

When politicians-bureaucrats-other power centres wield disproportionate power, when their allegiance or signal can start or stop any action, nothing can stop it. That's how this country runs. 
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Graham Staines and his two sons were burnt to death in their car on this day--January 23, 1999.

Though nineteen years have passed, it still evokes painful memories and remains a part of collective conscience of the nation.

It serves reminder to us that how extremist ideologies can turn people into such monsters that they would even go to the extent of killing innocent children.

Staines who hailed from Australia, had settled in India, and worked for leprosy patients. He was with his sons, Philip and Timothy, when an armed mob surrounded the vehicle and set it afire. The killings led to international outcry.

The man had dedicated himself to serve humanity and made India his home, yet, he was accused of luring locals towards Christianity. His wife Gladys rejected the charges that he converted people to Christianity.

Dara Singh, who was associated with Bajrang Dal, was held guilty in this case. The trial court gave him death sentence. However, the High Court didn't consider it a rarest of rare case, and instead of capital punishment, he was given life term in the year 2005.

The Supreme Court too upheld the decision, six years later. Despite the widespread outrage, right-wing forces have over the years continued to target Christians--either it is Dangs in Gujarat or attacks on Churches in Karnataka.

Singh is in jail. Shockingly, despite Dara Singh's involvement in the monstrous act and his conviction for it, several websites that claim to be dedicated to the cause of Hindutva, express support to Dara Singh.

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