When it comes to reporting on ‘Gujarat 2002’, the media has not only a different idiom and different sets of moral and ethical standards to be applied to different people, but demands a totally different jurisprudence! Thus the edict, ‘the law takes its own course’ does not apply to Gujarat riots cases. The judiciary must take media’s word for it and convict all accused in the cases and more importantly Narendra Modi. According to the secular media the ends of justice would be met if and only if Narendra Modi is jailed for life, irrespective of whether there is any evidence to prove his culpability or not. On the other hand, a Sanjeev Bhatt under investigation for crimes like illegal confinement of people, extortion and murder is a national icon only because he squeals on Narendra Modi, no matter what he professes may be a farrago of lies. A Teesta Setalvad may be accused of illegal confinement and torture of witnesses and perjury, and there may be questions about her NGO receiving funds from Saudi Arabia which bankrolls international terrorism, but she is a respected social activist.
To serve its nefarious purposes the secular media has developed its own vocabulary and idiom, something similar toNewspeak in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. Thus for example, the word holocaust might connote ‘massive destruction of humans by other humans’ in general English usage but it can be loosely applied to the killing of Muslims (and only Muslims) in Gujarat in February – March 2002. The word cannot be applied to the barbaric burning of the fifty-nineKarsevaks on February 27 that year. It cannot be applied to the Hindus killed in police firings during the riots.
On May 21, B. G. Verghese, one of the more secular journalists, wrote an article in The New Indian Express critiquing the Supreme Court monitored SIT’s report which exonerated Narendra Modi of any culpability for the riots: Lies, damn lies and statistics. It therefore did not conform to the secular norms of the self-appointed custodians of the secularmedia. Verghese grandiosely opened his article with the line ‘It has been famously said that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. One need not split hair about the official statistics pertaining to the 2002 Gujarat riots.’ Thus he implies that the death toll of Muslims is much more than the figure of 790, although it was not a figure provided by thecommunal Gujarat government but by a secular Minister of State for Home (MoS, Home) in the secular UPA government at the centre in a written reply on the floor of the Rajya Sabha. The implied scepticism is to lay the foundation and justify his metaphor in the fourth paragraph, ‘The stage set for the not-so-unplanned holocaust that followed…’ After all senior journalists might sacrifice facts but cannot be seen to be deficient when it comes to the use idiom and metaphor. The rest of Verghese’s article heaps diatribe on the SIT because it does not conform to his prescription and inculpate Narendra Modi. Whether the sub-editor who titled Veghese’s article did it intentionally or just picked up the popular saying from the first line, there is delicious irony in the title, ‘Lies, damn lies and statistics’. It about sums it up. Verghese was not satisfied with his description of minority victimhood with one mention of holocaust. Even for him the use of the holocaust metaphor is one too many to be repeated, lest people see though his insidious attempt to poison the minds of lay readers. Therefore he resorts to the other alternative which has worn thin because of overuse, viz. genocide.
However, Verghese is not alone in his penchant for holocaust. The Op-Ed Editor of another newspaper could not help using it in his editor’s note to an interview, titled, ‘Muslim quota is justified as affirmative action’, (in an inevitable reference to the Gujarat riots of 2002, whether the context warranted it or not) although neither the interviewer not the interviewee referred to the riots.
But such references to holocaust and genocide cannot be applied where the victims were Hindus, even when they could be justifiably applied. The following two paragraphs, in an article on the plight of Kashmiri Pandits (Kashmiri Pandits: A Forsaken Minority), got a more secular editor’s goat (although ELM editors are generally secular, some are more secular than others). He not only rejected the article but banished the columnist from the newspaper!
“Our intellectuals and media crib and caw about the settlements in West bank and Gaza and the injustices done to Palestinians but not a whisper from them about the fate of the exiled Kashmiri Pandits. No group of prominent public figures petitioned on their behalf; no celebrity authors cried in their defence. They were once the elite of Kashmiri society. The community produced artistes and artisans, poets and musicians, doctors and lawyers of amazing wisdom. At the turn of the century, there were about a million Kashmiri Hindus in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. At the time of independence, the proportion of Hindus in Kashmiri Valley was 15% of the population. By 1991 it came down to less than 1%.
“The word “genocide” has been worn out in popular usage during the last decade. It has been so freely bandied about in public discourse that it lost its original meaning. If ever there was a context for it to be justifiably applied it was in the case of the Kashmiri Pandits. ‘Genocide’ means ‘the systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of an entire national, racial, religious or ethnic group.’ This was what happened to the ethnic identity called the Kashmiri Pandits.”
N.B.: This piece was originally published on VOXINDICA on June 6, 2012.
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