Censor, Distort, Spin: How #NITSrinagar Is Covered by Media

Ignoring the cries for help and appeals to be rescued by non-Kashmiri students, who are now cooped up in NIT Srinagar like prisoners of war, our English language media has covered their ordeal with reluctance, skepticism and outright distortion.

Huffington Post leads the way with a malicious tweet twisitng the rape threat

Yesterday, we had covered the outstation NIT Srinagar students’ interaction with a visiting MHRD team, where girl students revealed how they had been threatened by locals with rape. Watch the below video to hear the exact threat to the girls –

Ek ka rape hoga to sari chup ho jaayengi” (if one of these outstation girls gets raped, all of them will shut up) – this is the threat given to girl students by locals (Kahsmiri Muslims).

It is hard to imagine that such a vivid threat can be fabricated by students. Still, every media report on this incident has used the word ‘alleged’ to refer to the rape threat. By default, any Hindu accusing a Muslim of any crime is an ‘allegation’ but the reverse is taken as absolute truth! This is what HuffingtonPost India tweeted about the rape threat, using an unconnected pic to show as if Hindus are the ones threatening students with rape

After this blatant distortion was caught, HuffingtonPost  quickly deleted the offending tweet – of course, without any apology or clarification – 

Reacting to this blatant misuse of an out of context pic, twitterati decided to give HuffingtonPost a taste of their own medicine –

Of course, HuffingtonPost did not like it one bit! The HuffingtonPost India Editor-in-chief did not like it when the shoe was on the other foot.

Media Ignores Students’ Plight – Gives Prominence to Police View

This is a snapshot of media headlines over the #NITSrinagar episode

Media Coverage of #NITSrinagar

As you can see, most media reports on the front pages are either –

  • Ignoring/downplaying the brutality of the J&K police lathi charge on outstation students at NIT
  • Allowing the J&K police to shift blame on the students for ‘provoking’ the lathi charge.
  • Lecturing the students that ‘Kashmir is complex’ – this is coded language which means that you should not protest when your Kashmiri batchmates shout anti-Bharat slogans, or celebrate Bharat’s defeats in cricket matches. Also, don’t mind if some members of the college administration nurse anti-Bharat feelings,  and disallow celebrating Hindu festivals on the campus. And of course, do not talk about rape threats issued to you – such comments only ‘polarize’ the situation. If this is indeed the ground reality, why open a NATIONAL Institute of Technology in Srinagar at all then, or admit non-Kashmiri students over there?
  • Reporting on the ‘fallout’ of the incident, rather than the details of the original incident. This is a classic media tactic when it comes to censoring crimes against Hindus. It is indeed condemnable if reports that Kashmiri students in Jodhpur were attacked are true, but how does the suffering of outstation  students in NIT Srinagar become less due to this? If media were to cover all crimes with objectivity and empathy, there would be less agitation all round.

As for the J&K police claiming that students ‘provoked’ the attack, here is a reminder to them of what a student attack on police looks like – this happened just last month when leftist students at University of Hyderabad vandalized the VC’s office, and pelted stones on police who were called for the VC’s protection. And the same media which is advocating outstation students to ‘maintain calm’ had gone into overdrive to report the police ‘attack’ on students then!


UoH Police Attacked
Hyderabad police hurt during stone pelting by leftist students at University of Hyderabad

Of course, no mainstream media house has thought it fit yet to do an interview with parents of any of the students who are currently caged like prisoners of war in the NIT Srinagar campus.