Recently around 49 individuals linked to some industries mainly the media and cinema came out and wrote a letter addressed to Prime Minister Modi in a bid to draw his attention “rising incidents of mob lynching”. In the letter this group of 49 individuals also declared Hindu religious chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ to be a “ provocative war cry”. This list of 49 individuals included Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Aparana Sen, Ram Chandra Guha and people like Binayak Sen who has been convicted on serious charge of sedition and helping Maoists; he was charged under section 124A of Indian Penal Code(IPC) (sedition) and 120-B Indian Penal Code (conspiracy) for which he was awarded life term.
However, it was not late when this meek attempt met with stiff resistance from another group of personalities and intellectuals who called out the inherent bias and selectivity of this letter. While the nation is already wary of similar subversive tactics used by these 49 individuals, condemnations from all quarters have been flowing against this seemingly politically motivated attempt. Nonetheless, this letter churned out another debate whether this ‘concern’ was based out on ground realities or on criminal incidents which were given a communal angle to suit and peddle political agendas.
The 61 personalities who have written an open letter against 'selective outrage and false narratives'. pic.twitter.com/Fdeac3KCri
— ANI (@ANI) July 26, 2019
Over the past few months, since Modi government took charge for the second time a number of cases have surfaced where the victims, usually belonging form the second-largest majority community, have claimed that they were attacked either because of their religion or when they had refused to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’. However, these cases have relied on shoddy claims which have been later refuted by hard pieces of evidence.
The most recent of the similar cases has surfaced in UP’s Chandauli district where a youth had alleged that he was set on fire for not chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’, however as the investigation progressed the emerging facts have nullified all the claims made by the individual. Dinesh Maurya, a newspaper hawker and an eyewitness to the incident had made contesting claims to that of the Muslim youth.
UP Police through its Fact Check account on Twitter had exposed the claims and also pointed out the underlying attempt to churn out communal tensions. “We have come across news regarding torching of a Muslim boy for not chanting religious slogans in Chandauli. The incident was investigated & found to be baseless, fabricated & malicious. Legal action shall be taken against rumor mongers on social media.” SP Chandauli Santosh k Singh said.
We have come across news regarding torching of a Muslim boy for not chanting religious slogans in Chandauli. The incident was investigated & found to be baseless,fabricated & malicious. Legal action shal b taken against rumour mongers on #SocialMedia. SP chandauli Santosh k Singh https://t.co/p8EUQKUBGV pic.twitter.com/resZ7QYy6B
— UPPOLICE FACT CHECK (@UPPViralCheck) July 29, 2019
Nonetheless, the pseudo-secular media was fast to create another an anti-Hindu narrative of this fake incident and not only propagated this incident in skewed proportions but didn’t stop even after these claims were conclusively rejected by the Uttar Pradesh police and circumstantial evidence.
Muslim teenager set on fire after he refused to chant Jai Shri Ram. The Prime Minister of the country is busy shooting Man versus wild. https://t.co/emLOKkfMWh
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) July 30, 2019
The pseudo-secular media not only turns a blind eye to these later developments but also fails to apologise for spreading these communally charged ‘news articles’ and in a way keeps perpetuating this cycle of fake cases being turned into communal sensational news.
Earlier communal tensions had flared up in Unnao after a few madrasa students claimed to have beaten up after being forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’. However, exposing the ill-intent behind the claims Uttar Pradesh Police had clarified that the dispute was regarding cricket and has also categorically denied that the madarasa students were forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’.
ADG Law and Order, PV Ramashastri and Pravin Kumar said that some anti-social people were attempting to flare up communal tension.”Such people won’t be successful as UP police will tackle them effectively. Police are working without any discrimination,” he said.
In another case reports had emerged that an Auto Driver, Aatib was allegedly locked up inside a public toilet by three people for refusing to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’. In a bid to flare up communal tensions rumors were also propagated on Whatsapp that Aatib had died after being thrashed for not chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ However these claims also did not have any basis and turned out to be fake.
A similar case also took place in Gurugram earlier in May in which media had reported how one Barkat Ali was beaten up by some Hindu men and his cap was also forcefully thrown, However CCTV footage had later showed how no one had deliberately removed his skullcap and it turned out to be fake. In this case, the angle of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ was deliberately pushed in by a certain section of media despite there being no mention in the initial report filed by Barkat Ali.
Not surprisingly the mainstream media staying with its stance has decided to conveniently communalize these disputes, as the identity of the victims fits well with their political agenda. Mainstream media has been called out time and time again for blatantly molding or totally manufacturing the reportage of crimes involving certain sections in India. However, after continuous backlash from the online community, and easy access to facts over online space, this is surely not the first incident where the inherent hypocrisy of the pseudo-liberal media ecosystem and these fake cases stands exposed.