The shocking incident which occurred on the night of Holi, where 40 year old dentist Dr. Pankaj Narang was beaten to death by a mob led by Nasir Khan (22), his mother Mesar, and brother Amir Khan (21), is being spun as ‘Road Rage’ or ‘Class War’ by influential sections of our national media. It appears that the motive of a crime is not defined by what motivates the criminal, it is defined by what motivates senior journalists. Rather than just stick to reporting the facts, elite journalists and opinion-makers have taken it upon themselves to interpret the events leading to Dr. Narang’s murder – their judgement is clear: this was just a regular crime which should not get undue attention, unlike the murder of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri, or the suicide of Rohith Vemula.
But try as much they want, facts are hard to hide in this day & age. From various reports, the sequence of events which emerges is –
- Pankaj Narang lived with his wife and two children at New Krishna Park in Vikaspuri, New Delhi. Narang’s sister, brother-in-law and their son were visiting the family from Noida to celebrate Holi.
- The incident occurred on Wednesday night, soon after India’s win over Bangladesh in the World T20 cricket match, as Narang along with his seven-year-old son Aditya, nephew Rachit and brother-in-law Vivek Sethi came out of their home and started playing cricket in their car park.
- Trouble began when the ball flew into the bylane and his son ran after it. Narang saw two youth on a bike (Nasir and a juvenile) approaching them, taking abrupt alternate right and left turns. When he raised his hand to stop the biker, it grazed the rider’s body, triggering a heated argument. Police claim that Narang slapped the biker, and seized the motorcycle keys, asking the two youth to call their parents.
- The duo threatened the doctor of dire consequences and left the spot.
- Narang tried to call the Police Control Room (PCR) to report the incident and threat, but the police line was engaged. He then decided to go to Janakpuri District Centre, where PCR vans are usually stationed, but found none.
- By the time he came back home, Nasir had returned with more than a dozen people, including juveniles and women, carrying cricket bats, rods and other blunt objects. They had started pelting his house with stones.
- They attacked him outside his house and dragged him for nearly 20 meters. He ran around the neighbourhood, begging for his life and screaming for help, but collapsed as the attackers kept hitting him from behind.
- A CCTV camera installed outside a local hospital captured portions of the attack in which Mesar, mother of the Khan brothers, could be seen inciting the mob to assault the dentist.
- The mob also badly beat up Narang’s brother-in-law and assaulted any family member who tried to come to his rescue. Narang’s wife and sister kept on screaming for help, but none of the local residents came forward to help.
- At 12.45 am, some residents informed police about the incident. By the time police reached the spot, the accused had fled.
- Narang had multiple fractures in his skull, his eyes were swollen, he was bleeding from his nose. Before he could be shifted to the operation theatre, he suffered a cardiac attack and died.
- A Delhi court on Friday sent four juveniles to a correctional home, while the five other accused — Nasir, Mesar, Amir, Ameer and Gopal — were sent to Tihar jail.
- Nasir, the prime accused had earlier been arrested in a robbery case.
Road Rage or Cold-Blooded Lynching?
Media was quick to portray this as a ‘road rage’ incident, overlooking the fact that there was a minimum 15 minute interval after the initial argument, in which time Nasir went home, gathered his MOTHER (who played a key role in instigating the mob) and others, armed themselves and returned with a clear intent to kill Pankaj Narang.
Another Justification By Media – Class War!
Another attempt by the media to ‘explain’ this crime was projecting it as a class war and sign of growing rich-poor gap. Leave aside the fact that Vikaspuri is a crowded middle class area, and that prime accused Nasir worked in his father’s fish business and had the resources to buy a motorcycle; one wonders why media is so desperate to interpret this incident rather than just report facts.
The thinking in media editorial rooms that reporting facts will set of a communal riot is actually counter-factual, but even if we assume this fear is valid, why weren’t the same standards applied for the Dadri incident or during the Church Attack hysteria? The rabid communal mongering by media over these two stories was the precursor to the ‘Rising Intolerance’ narrative and the ‘Award Wapsi’ charade that followed. Church attacks hysteria was proven to be a such a hoax that even liberals don’t talk about it anymore, but Dadri lynching still lives on as an example of ‘Rising Intolerance’ despite evidence that it was a personal grudge given a communal twist.
It isn’t road rage when mob entered his home! It isn’t class privilege when that home was that vulnerable to attack. #justicefordrpankaj
— Vamsee Juluri (@VamseeJuluri) March 26, 2016
Some examples of media hypocrisy
The following tweets speak for themselves –
Gaza – Very disturbing, historic injustice and Cruel history.
Lynching of an innocent Doctor in India- Nonsense pic.twitter.com/K2T0UCSdeC
— Revolutionary Monk (@RevolutionMonk) March 26, 2016
In one case “wilful denial”,”join the dots”. In another, “listen to the sensible..” Same Delhi police. Difference? pic.twitter.com/bi4DrUa8dy
— Rupa Subramanya (@rupasubramanya) March 26, 2016
Does reporting the truth cause riots?
This is a core principle which many influential media elites swear by: Any crime committed against Hindus is evaluated for its ‘polarization potential’ before deciding whether to report it factually or selectively, or censor it altogether. However, there is clear evidence that such suppression of facts actually creates a pressure cooker like situation wherein the aggrieved Hindus feel helpless and ultimately explode at some point of time. At the same time, biased reporting creates a victimhood mentality in minorities, and nullifies any chance of introspection and self-correction within their society.
For eg., the series of crimes against Hindu women were ignored or down played by media and politicians, in the lead up to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. The wide-spread 2012 riots in Congress ruled Assam barely got any coverage until social media raised a storm; Rajdeep Sardesai famously justified the muted media reporting as ‘tyranny of distance’. It can be argued that the macabre attempt to negate the brutal murder of 58 Kar Sevaks before the 2002 riots as an ‘accident’ did much more damage to the social fabric of this nation, than reporting the truth would have done.
Our media would do all of us a huge favor by just reporting the facts – if the people of this country are wise enough to exercise their right to vote, they sure are wise enough to comprehend reality without having our media interpret it for them. If media bigshots really did know better than the common man on the street, we would have had Rahul Gandhi as our PM today. This is what media should introspect seriously on, not lash out at concerned citizens on social media who spend hours analyzing media spin and uncovering the truth –
Anybody who deliberately spreads falsehoods on social media must be booked under the law. These fools can set off a communal riot. Dangerous
— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) March 26, 2016
Spreading rumours on social media is wrong.
No, Murthal “gang rapes” and “beef” murders is different. Those rumours helped society.
— Liberal Of New Delhi (@LiberalsOfDelhi) March 26, 2016