The town of Chabra in the Baran district of Rajasthan is still burning after riots. Many of you might not have even got this news as Rajasthan has a Congress government, under whose rule riots or any other usual outrage generating incidents become almost invisible to our mainstream English media.
The riots started with a small dispute. On Saturday evening, a local named Kamal Singh was buying grapes at the thela when he got into dispute with 5 young men from a ‘certain community’. The youth showed their prowess with knife and stabbed him then and there. A shopkeeper from nearby shop, Rakesh Dhakad, ran to save Kamal and he was also stabbed. The accused then fled and the injured were taken to the hospital.
The police was informed and after some time arrested three of the accused named Fareed, Abid and Sameer. However, the main accused remained at large. On the morning of Sunday, the families of the victims started gathering on Dharnawada circle to demand for the arrest of other accused. They demanded closure of shops in the market. The members from ‘other community’ also gathered, and stone pelting started. In no time, the riot spread and dozens of shops and showrooms were vandalized and consigned to flames. A fire tender, which was on its way to put out the fire was also attacked and many vehicles were torched. According to local reports, more than 2 dozen shops of Hindus have been torched by the rioters. More than a dozen policemen have sustained injuries.
यह वीडियो #छबड़ा (बाराँ) से चलकर सोशल मीडिया पर फैल गया है। जरा-सी बात पर सामुदायिक झगड़े की घटना दुःखद है। एक परिचित मित्र से बात हुई तो उन्होंने बताया कि #हिंदुओं की 2 दर्जन दुकानें जल चुकी हैं। @PoliceRajasthan को सख्ती करनी चाहिए। @Sanjay_Dixit @ShefVaidya @PratapSSinghvi pic.twitter.com/BhdAl131WL
— Kosalendradas कोसलेन्द्रदास: (@Kosalendradas) April 11, 2021
The situation became tense enough to merit a curfew and the same was imposed around 4PM on Sunday. Internet was also cutoff till 4PM on April 13 to stop spreading of rumors. The local MLA Pratap Singhvi blamed the police inaction in arresting the culprits for the tense situation.
The privilege of the ‘certain community’
The coverage of this whole episode in the news media is worth observing. Most English newspapers are yet to cover it, but let us see the few that did.
“two youths of the Gujjar community identified as Kamal Gurjar (32) Dhakad (21) were injured in an attack by 4-5 youths of another community at Dharnawada circle on Saturday evening.”
It is curious to observe how the Hindu side has been referred by the caste of the victims. This is an old ploy to ensure that Hindus are not united on the basis of religion, but only on basis of caste. One can find it everywhere this story has been reported. It also achieves another objective of confusing the reader who the other side is. Many would presume that based on the caste mentioned, probably the other side is another caste of Hindus. So by mentioning ‘certain community’, the paper not only avoids writing the word ‘Muslim’, but also gives the impression that it was a conflict among Hindus themselves! The news does not indicate the names of the criminals, as this would give away this deception and would probably be a sacrilege against secularism.
The New Indian Express has also carried this news. It writes :-
“On Saturday, when Kamal Singh, a resident of Chhabra subdivision, was buying fruits at the intersection of the town where he got into a fight with 3 youths of other community. The boys took out a knife and attacked Kamal. “
The ‘other community’ retains its mystique in this news too. There is no mention of the names of arrested or the name of Muslim community.
The News18 coverage states :-
“According to sources, two youths — Kamal Gurjar (32) and Rakesh Dhakad (21) — were injured in an attack by 4-5 youths of another community at Dharnawada circle on Saturday evening.”
The ‘another community’ remains under the wraps in this report too. The names of the arrested are not mentioned in this story too.
Hindustan Times has the most interesting coverage of the issue reported by Aabshar H Quazi. The start of the news has a photo of a burnt shop(which may or may not have belonged to a Muslim) with the caption “Violence erupted after a group of men tried to forcibly close a few shops run by the Muslims.“
After reading it one is supposed to think of how the Muslims are being oppressed in Baran that they are forced to close their shops, and this is the reason why Muslims must have violently reacted. Except, this is in all probability a white lie. The bandh, any where in Bharat, does never force only one community to close shops and allows others to keep open. That is against the whole concept of bandh.
The article has following interesting sentences:-
“According to police, the riots erupted after two men from the Gujjar community were allegedly stabbed by members of the Muslim community following an argument late on Saturday. ”
“members of the Gujjar community staged a protest at Chhabra police station and also reportedly thrashed a couple of Muslim men”
“On Sunday, police said, violence erupted after a group of men tried to forcibly close a few shops run by the Muslims.“
The victimhood narrative is dripping from the whole piece. Firstly, the Muslims “allegedly” stabbed the member of Gujjar community. The thrashing of Muslim men appears only in this piece and the same is attributed to the Police, although there is no such official statement as of yet. The allegation that only Muslim shops were being closed is present only in this article. Still, at least here, the journalist is more honest than others, who had no gumption to even mention the Muslim community.
In contrast to English news, the Hindi news sources, specially local ones, remain honest to the story. Almost all major newspapers of Rajasthan at least give the name of perpetrators. That is certainly not a detail that will instigate riots or can be called as instigating communal feelings.
The English media of the country has drank much of the sweet intoxicating drink of Gandhian-Nehruvian secularism, in which criminals from minority community are treated with kid gloves. This started when Gandhi refused to even condemn the murderer of Swami Shraddhananda, the head of Arya Samaj, by a Muslim bigot. In fact, Gandhi called the murderer as “Dear Brother” in his newspaper. This was when Shraddhananda was a great educationist, social reformer and independence movement leader. He had been called the “the greatest and most sincere champion of the Untouchables” by none other than Dr. Ambedkar.
This biased coverage is probably due to a deep seated insecurity and the need to find validation from a ‘certain community’. But this has also resulted in the erosion of credibility of the media. The promotion of the victimhood complex among the Muslims and not giving them the reality check will have serious consequences for Muslims themselves and for the society at large. The initial trends are already showing.
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