- Dr Pramod Pathak-
No sooner was the list of migrating Hindu families by Member of Parliament Hukum Singh out, than the media jumped to verify if the list was incorrect and that Hukum Singh had intention of dividing the UP electorate on the communal lines in view of the forthcoming State Assembly elections. It had in background the BJP convention referring to “Hindu exodus” from Kairana just a day before. Teams of English and a Hindi news channel made a bee line to Kairana to investigate and verify the list. After about a day’s hard labour the omniscient anchors with their trusted field investigators were ready with their stuff for the higher TRP rating onJune 13 evening. Then followed some media report on forced migration on June 14.
The team leaders of both the channels in the very beginning grilled the list maker, Hukum Singh. They had statistics on their platter. They asked him about the names of the dead persons and the families still continuing to reside in town featuring on the list. He replied the names stood for the families headed by the person. Second most important question was about the only Hindu family names in the list, thereby he was projecting the Kashmir like situation. The conversation was abruptly terminated possibly because Hukum Singh retorted back asking them to identify a single Muslim family having migrated out of fear. Well! That is for the objectivity.
One fact however came out that, the local goons were from the Muslim (not minority, rather excessive local majority of more than 90%) majority community and that they were harassing the traders. They did it with impunity for years. They not only threatened but killed. The survey conductors emphasised that these Muslim community goons were nuisance to both the communities and that they conducted extortion irrespective of the community. Both Hindus as well as the Muslims suffered equally. As the facts were reeled out, the viewers realised the futility of the above claims. Not one team could identify a Muslim trader having been killed on account of having not paid hafta, but all those murdered were Hindus only. Next to feature were the threatened families and traders. Not one Muslim family could come out and say they too faced the personal threats. While only one or two Hindu persons showed guts to say their relatives left Kairana on account of having received threats. Why could these ground zero teams from two celebrated channels with long arms and well equipped personnel not identify a single Muslim trader who was threatened, leave alone killed? Even one confession by a Muslim person especially a trader would suffice the claim that both the communities were the victims of the Muslim goons. Are there no Hindu goons left in Kairana with population of about one lakh? The picture of an apparently Muslim family gathering outside their house with a bag, was shown as if it was on the verge of leaving. But it did not leave till the end. The viewers expected the family head (with four wives?) and then the womenfolk to cry hoarse for being evicted by the goons. It could authenticate the menace from their coreligionist goons. Till the last moment, family didn’t step out of the picture. How come the interviewers missed their bites on the verge of migrating from their own Kairana. Or was it an enacted scene?
Confessions under threats
A Hindu trader, sweet maker, had left Kairana after having received threats. His acquaintance named Goyal was running the show. At the time of interview he was surrounded by the Muslim bystanders. How could he dare to utter of threats in front of them? He has decided to stay as caretaker and possibly had reached understanding with the goons to shell out periodic extortion amount. Well! It is aptly called protection money. A small time trader seen to be operating in the centre of a Muslim area claimed no threats from the fellow Muslims. He too was surrounded by the perusing Muslims conspicuous by their dress code. How dare he speak truth in their presence? Both the investigating teams could not identify a single Muslim trader threatened in his shop. The reality as emerged from these managed interviews was they did not feel threatened.
As the cameras were moved around the lanes of the town, lots of wall graffiti could be seen announcing house on sale. Did all these belonged to Hindus? As the cameras moved across the Hindu localities, they wore typically deserted looks. Are there no estate agents in the town of a lakh of population? Or are they not hopeful of getting their due share from the fellow Muslim buyers who in due course will acquire those empty houses at throwaway prices?
Last but not the least, the fake investigation was exposed when one or two Hindu women were asked about the insecurity they were experiencing as they moved out in town. These poor souls having their faces shown on TV, how could they claim to be under threat? Very next moment they step out of their house, they could be victims of the exposure. Why didn’t the interviewers hide their identity to get reality exposed? The same was about the families who had left the town. They could have attested that they had left for their own advancement and not out of fear. These should include both Hindus and Muslims at least one each. Was it that difficult task? The vociferous denial came from the SP MLA and the local Muslim leaders who must be reaping the vote bank of their choice. The end came with summing up on the communal divide being planned by BJP on the eve of the forthcoming State elections due early next year. For common viewers, it appeared to be a stage managed “Aap ki Adaalat” of the Media for TRP by media. Victim was not BJP but the omniscient Anchors, who were out to brand only communal BJP ignoring the Kafirophobia that breeds within the Muslim community.
(The writer is a Goa based freelancer)