Coronavirus has claimed over 22,000 lives across the world. The number of cases too show no signs of deceleration, as the United States is all set to be the new epicentre of the Chinese pandemic. In India alone, there are over 720 confirmed cases as of this moment.
As the world continues to be terrorized by a virus which originated in an unsanitary wet market in Wuhan, the media is being aggressively coerced to downplay the role of China in this entire mess.
Capturing the mood worldwide, The Hindu yesterday put out a cartoon by Deepak Harichandran which showed how the world was being terrorized by the Chinese virus, and continues to be stagnant due to it, with India’s population of 1.3 billion people under lockdown.
— The Hindu Comment (@TheHinduComment) March 26, 2020
Soon after, an army of Islamists invaded the comments section of the newspaper and accused The Hindu of being an ‘Islamophobe’, if the irony could get any more hilarious. Their point of contention was that the virus was holding a gun, and wearing a Pathani attire of sorts. It must be remembered that only two days ago a Gurudwara in Kabul was attacked by terrorists, allegedly of LeT and Haqqani Network. But dare we show the terrorists in an attire which would even minutely offend a community, terror would become the least of our worries.
Didn't expected such irrationality from one of the leading newspapers..
— Liberal Spade (@liberalSpade) March 26, 2020
Remove this or change name to The Hindutva.
— Syed Anas Razvi (@RazviAnas) March 26, 2020
We will win over coronavirus but islamophobia is a longer fight. Very disappointing coming from @the_hindu
— Zoya Rasul (@zoyarasul) March 26, 2020
One of them should've been wearing orange robes and clanging utensils, right? C'mon @TheHinduComment, your readers need support right now, not extra fear.
— Sidra Maheen (@MaheenSidra) March 26, 2020
Because of course, are they even blood-thirsty terrorists if they aren’t in bhagwa?
@the_hindu , I never expected you to board the Islamophobia bandwagon, least in the midst of pandemic. Had always been an ardent fan of yours but sadly, looks the time has come to bid adieous!
— Hafees M حفيظ م (@mrhafees) March 26, 2020
"The Hindu" news paper displays a cartoon of Corona virus with Muslim attire. What does this indicate. Are not these blood thirsty mainstreams done with Muslim hatredness?
Condemn #Islamophobia pic.twitter.com/pci9ELTMlV
— Ladeeda Farzana (@ladeedafarzana) March 26, 2020
The aesthetic fetishes of the Indian majority conscious is satisfied only when Muslims are portrayed as the bad and evil.
/Cartoon from The Hindu/ pic.twitter.com/t2yhlyRS5r
— Afreen Fatima (@AfreenFatima136) March 26, 2020
This cartoon published by @the_hindu is nothing short of a hate crime. The virus is dressed in a Muslim attire. This is highly islamophobic. This issue is already furthering xenophobia, do not use it to further religious intolerance.
Apologize now! pic.twitter.com/7Sb1boT4eP
— Arya (@RantingDosa) March 26, 2020
The Hindu triggered ignoramuses of a communist like never before. While The Hindu’s editorial inclinations and biases are well known, they are certainly not brain-dead enough to not show the reality as it is. What are terrorists dressed up as, usually? To show terrorists, as many on Twitter called it – in ‘Muslim attire’, would almost instantly put the message across to the readers. Imagery is a powerful tool in the world of media. The message, meanwhile, being that of the world being held hostage by the terror of Coronavirus. Yet, it was very difficult for some to comprehend this rudimentary fact, and they did not waste a second before taking out the ‘Islamophobia’ trump card.
As a result of the continuous badgering, and also perhaps due to a lack of spine, The Hindu issued an apology. “Some readers have objected to the cartoon published on March 26, 2020 as Islamophobic. Any link to Muslims in the attire of the virus was completely unintentional. The point of the cartoon was to show the world being taken hostage by the virus. However, we agree that the virus should have been shown as just a blob or a stick figure and we express our regret for the hurt or unhappiness caused. Accordingly, we are taking down this cartoon online and replacing it with one that has a neutral representation of the attire,” the statement read.
The continuous hounding of those who dare to speak and depict the truth of terrorism, albeit, even without any Islamophobic connotations is deeply worrying. It is an attack on free speech and on the freedom of media, by the same people who continue to claim that they are aggressive proponents of the said ideas.