Perusal of the reports filed in the English dailies of the country reveals the biased character of the English print media. These media houses and editors of English dailies are the self-certified champions of ‘unbiased reporting’, often accusing the regional language papers of spreading false reports. They claim as pioneers of placing the facts before the readers, not taking sides and leaving readers to arrive at a conclusion. But in reality the English dailies are the suppressor of facts. The English dailies mastered the art of building a narration basing on the political view they hold and twist the issue basing on victim’s religion. The duplicity of their reporting can be gauzed from what they printed when the victim was a Muslim and the aggressors are Hindus and how they changed the narrative when the aggressor is a Muslim and victim is Hindu. It may sound harsh but my comment is based on facts and the comments are not made, for sure, with a malice. Though I had the data the chance to write this came after going through the newspapers of June 29, 2022 where the beheading incident of Udaipur is reported by different dailies. Readers are free to appreciate or criticise and comment.
The Rajasthan city of Udaipur witnessed a Taliban incident in the broad day light where a Hindu Kanhaiya Lal was beheaded by two religious terrorism inspired Muslim youth, one of them works in a local Mosque. The Muslim assailants walked into the shop as customers and when the Hindu, a tailor by profession, was taking the body measurements, butchered him by slitting the throat with a sharp cleaver and then separating the head from the torso. The incident is so gruesome even to read but for the Muslim youth fed on the terror acts and killings of kafirs as a sacred religious duty, it was so casual that one of the assailant filmed the blood gushing scene and shared it on the social media platforms. That the assailants had the temerity of warning the killing of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi with the same weapon.
This unparalleled incident which should have been condemned with strongest words. However, the print media of India has presented the news in totally different way in comparison to what they have reported when some Muslims were lynched anywhere in India. When Muslims were lynched the English media invariably mentioned the religion of the victim. As late as February, 2022 an incident happened in Samastipur of Bihar state where the youth was lynched for defaulting the loan repayment. The Hindu daily published from Chennai used the header ‘Muslim man was lynched’. The story mentioned the victim as Muslim, Mohammad Khalil Alam and the murderers are Hindus, Anurag Jha and Vipul Jha. Their offence too was filmed and uploaded. However The Hindu quoting officials, though the police denied any communal angle in the lynching, said in its report that “the accused hoped to create a communal situation by shooting and releasing the video of crime”.
Take another incident that happened in Rajasthan few years earlier. The Hindu choose to have a header identifying the victim’s religion. ‘Muslim man lynched by mob in Rajasthan on suspicion of cow smuggling’. In the following story, The Hindu reporter tries to remind the readers that “latest incidence comes just a year after a dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan, was lynched by mob of cow vigilantes near Behror in Awar district”.
Let us now see what The Hindu wrote on the Udaipur incident. The header is ‘Two behead man for social media post’. See how carefully The Hindu has chosen not to disclose the Hindu identity of the victim. Not only that the daily choose not to identify the offenders by their religion. For The Hindu it is not a Muslims killing a Hindu. Contrast this with their earlier reports the reporting bias becomes self-evident.
This narration change with the victim’s religion is the standard presentation of the English newspapers. All the papers earlier, when victim is a Muslim and aggressors are Hindus never hesitated to say so. But now when Taliban type crime happened in Udaipur they did totally opposite way of reporting by hiding the Muslim identity of murderers.
Barring The Hindustan Times (Hindu Tailor murdered in gruesome hate crime) no other major newspapers choose to identify the victim by his religion but surprisingly tried to identify the victim by his tailoring profession. Read the headers from different English dailies of India.
- Tailor butchered (The New Indian Express),
- Tailor murder (The Telegraph),
- Curfew imposed as tension erupts after tailor beheaded (The Statesman),
- A shopkeeper in Udaipur beheaded
(The Economic Times),
- Grisly tailor murder jolts Udaipur (Orissapost),
- Tailor beheaded for backing Nupur Sharma in Udaipur (The Hitavada),
- Tailor beheaded for pro-Nupur post (Free Press Journal).
- Two ‘customers’ behead Udaipur tailor (The
Times of India)
It was certainly not a professional rivalry between two tailors which lead to the beheading but it was the religious aggression which was the reason for the beheading. But still the newspapers tried to suppress that religious angle in their headers. The newspapers which choose to push this gruesome act into a single column include The Hindu and the Millennium Post (Kolkata edition) chose to push it to insignificant inner pages.
For Kashmir Times published from Srinagar the header is not the beheading by a Muslim but Curfew imposed in 7 police station areas of Udaipur’. The Siasat, the Urdu paper, gave the banner “Udaipur man brutallhy murdered on camera…” But the same Siasat when Asif Khan was lynched in Mewat of Haryana the issue of 17.5.21 bannered “Muslim man lynched to death”.
Should we still believe that the English print media is unbiased and fair in its reporting? If the newspapers believe that identifying the victim by religion will lead to tension and retaliation then they should have taken that into consideration while identifying the victim by Muslim religion. This bias of English dailies needs be questioned and be made to mend there ways.