It was a bright and happy morning. Covid-19 numbers for the day were flowing in. So, NDTV too reported the numbers for Saturday. On Sunday morning, in a tweet, NDTV reported 44,643 new Covid-19 infections in the past 24 hours, which it said were 4 per cent higher than the day before. NDTV used the thumbnail of an Indian man getting swab tested for the virus. This Indian man, whose picture NDTV chose to use to portray the continuing severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, happened to be a Muslim donning the Islamic cap and a beard.
Islamists, however, did not like this depiction of a Muslim man as an Indian, on a post which sought to report on the Covid-19 infection data of India for the day. So, a pack of Islamists, led by Sharjeel Usmani soon descended upon NDTV, and its editor Sonia Singh. “Who in NDTV decided to use this picture with the report? Employees may reveal the name if they wish to. DM is always open,” Usmani blurted while quoting the now deleted NDTV tweet.
Who in NDTV decided to use this picture with the report? Employees may reveal the name if they wish to. DM is always open. https://t.co/lfA1ISshv3
— Sharjeel Usmani (@SharjeelUsmani) August 6, 2021
Sonia Singh quoted this tweet by the Islamist, and said, “I can only see an Indian taking a corona test in this picture. Stop trying to intimidate our team with your agenda!” One would have thought that following such a gutsy reply by a senior member of the NDTV team, the tweet would stand as is, and the media organisation would not buckle under the pressure of a few rabid Islamists. However, that is precisely what happened, as NDTV soon deleted its tweet.
I can only see an Indian taking a corona test in this picture. Stop trying to intimidate our team with your agenda ! https://t.co/3wnDNiM2VN
— sonia singh (@soniandtv) August 7, 2021
NDTV Deletes the Tweet after Outrage by their 'Core' Audience pic.twitter.com/v9rfYlJhKX
— Megh Updates 🚨 (@MeghUpdates) August 8, 2021
Social media has ever since been flooded with reactions over the incident, which put to show the cowardice of NDTV. For a media organisation which claims to not be cowered down by pressure of any kind, to delete a tweet which annoyed a few radical Islamists is certainly hypocritical, and quite a big statement on how the organisation’s courage is directed only against the “right wing” and BJP supporters.
— Ajit Datta (@ajitdatta) August 8, 2021
Unfortunate that @ndtv succumbed to this brazen threat. So, who is scared of whom? At whose command does #Liberal #media crawl? Where does the threat to media emanate from in #India ? And, who is the ‘fascist’ who threatens democracy? pic.twitter.com/nOKflbA8NU
— Kanchan Gupta 🇮🇳 (@KanchanGupta) August 8, 2021
The next time an NDTV “journalist” talks about “courage” & “integrity” & “Godi media” & “not giving in to intimidation” just post this picture under their tweet…. Don’t say anything… just post it. Like they say “a picture is worth a 1000 words” pic.twitter.com/Si5MS79eF9
— Abhijit Iyer-Mitra (@Iyervval) August 8, 2021
NDTV deleted the post, it seems. Such is the fear of losing life or limb if you displease a certain community. Secularism is only for soft targets :-) https://t.co/zXPGVeunNn pic.twitter.com/t3w33Rk92H
— Abhijit Majumder (@abhijitmajumder) August 8, 2021
But @soniandtv you did get intimidated! Why has the tweet been deleted? Thats how these people win with their agenda! A pic of a normal indian citizen cant be used? Ismein bhi hindu muslim? My concern is the deletion of the tweet by @ndtv . Shows you are scared too! They won! https://t.co/44XoxKux2o
— richa anirudh (@richaanirudh) August 8, 2021
The gang of Islamists who got furious with the tweet by NDTV seem to be of the belief that the portrayal of a Muslim man as an Indian taking a Covid-19 test is almost blasphemous, and worthy of punishment, which is why Sharjeel Usmani asked for the details of the person who put out the tweet to be forwarded to him. What would he have done with this information? Taught the journalist a lesson for trying to associate Muslims with India?
Are you trying to say Muslims are not Indians? https://t.co/KIt649XonM
— Sanbeer Singh Ranhotra (@SSanbeer) August 8, 2021
Sharjeel Usmani is not new to such radical controversies. Earlier, following the unfortunate death of senior journalist Rohit Sardana, Sharjeel Usmani – the “Muslim activist” penned an entire thread detailing how “Rohit Sardana was a horrible man who justified killings, dehumanised entire (an) community and profited from it.” He also scolded liberals for condoling the death of Rohit Sardana, and said, “Liberals and centrists continue to amaze me…Please stop preaching us how to react to his death, and stop sermonizing decency and humanity.” The extremist went on to shamelessly add, “Also, next time a fascist dies, please try to not feel sad about it. It is the most human thing to do.”