Posts Tagged ‘Indian security forces’

Propaganda: the (blatant) Indian way

February 26, 2013


Indian media can be called many things – free, vibrant, opinionated – but if there is one thing it cannot be called is subtle. The Indian media has had a long history of bias, Pakistan-bashing and a general lack of uniformity on national issues.

When the gang rape story broke in December, there was an intense media debate in India about the consequences of the tragedy on the country. The Indian Express advocated reform and called for a safe environment in the country on its Op-Ed pages. The Hindu, on the other hand, took off on a different tangent and discussed the need for death penalty and castration for rapists. The Times of India chose to remain on the fences, calling for “long term solutions.” The Asian Age focused on the political fall-out of the gang rape. Navbharat Times, on the other hand, filled its Op-Ed pages with a debate on the oppressed classes of the Indian society and raised an entirely existential question. Nai Dunya, went off in a completely different direction, and called for an end to protests since laws could not be “made over night.”

However, this is tame compared to some of the attacks the Indian media has made on its national athletes. And that onslaught is nothing compared to the continuous Pakistan-bashing that occurs every time wind blows from the west. Over the years, the Pakistani establishment has consistently demanded that the Indian media tone down its anti-Pakistan stance for better Indo-Pak relations. Several times over the years, former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf has blasted the Indian media for fabricating stories about Pakistan’s military. Furthermore, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir said in an interview, “Pakistan-bashing has become fashionable in India whenever there is an issue.” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar also said several times that she was saddened by the constant barrage of negative comments emanating from the other side of the border.

“Pakistan and India are both important countries of South Asia. It is imperative that they demonstrate requisite responsibility for ensuring peace by addressing all concerns through dialogue. Rhetoric and ratcheting up of tensions is certainly counterproductive. We are saddened and disappointed at the continued negative statements emanating from India both from the media as well as certain Indian leaders. For its part, Pakistan has observed a measured and deliberate self-restraint in our public statements on India. This has been done keeping in view the interest of peace in the region,” said Khar.

The LoC, Pakistan-India cricketing rivalries, political and security debates aside, the latest stunt pulled by the Indian media was worthy of a good laugh.

In the wake of the Hyderabad blasts in India that left 16 dead and 117 injured, the Indian security forces issued a statement that slain Pakistani MQM leader Manzar Imam was the mastermind behind the attack. Within a few hours of this statement, the Indian media men dug out a photograph of Manzar Imam and declared him the chief terrorist behind the incident. Except the fact that Imam had been killed in a targeted attack a few weeks ago. It took them another few hours to realize their mistake and retract their statements.

This incident, again, just goes to prove how the Indian media looks for any outside sources to blame without looking inwards for their own security woes.

The Indian Home Minister Shinde announced in a statement that they had been expecting some form of retaliation after two high-profile hangings – Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab. If it was expected, perhaps the Indian journalists should focus their energies at investigating how there was such a massive security failure in one of their busiest, most populous cities instead of pointing fingers on dead men across the border.

In every journalism course there is a section on media ethics and responsibility. It seems that either the Indian journalists missed those important classes or need to revisit them once more.


Held Kashmir: the agony goes on

September 1, 2010

By Bassam Javed

Ten weeks into Jammu & Kashmir’s surge of violence, the use of force against un-armed civilians continues unabated. This time the struggle for their rights through street protests has cost the peaceful movement over 60 dead, mainly Kashmiri youth in their teens and twenties, and hundreds of innocent injured.

The surge of violence in the Kashmiri movement with protesters chanting ‘Go India Go’ slogans commenced after teenager Tufail Mattoo’s brutal death at the hands of Indian security forces on June 11 this year. The movement through street protests just keeps picking up in intensity with each passing day and has been so fierce at times that security forces were forced to retreat.

Whatever the protestors are demanding in the streets today is nothing new and is absolutely the same agenda what their elders have been fighting to achieve through their life times. There is no deviation in the basic agenda of seeking their right of self determination.

The ferocity in the current uprising is amazing despite the fact that their leadership is confined to their residences by force and is not allowed to move around. They have not even been allowed to meet and sympathise with the families whose beloved ones have been killed by the Indian security forces. But India remains in a denial mode.

Initially, India had tried to give a turn to the current spate of violence by terming it as terrorism perpetrated from across the border, a popular outlet they find in Pakistan to cover their inabilities to either recognise the gravity of issues that plague their security or their failure to control the fallouts of these issues.

The anger on the streets of Indian held Kashmir today is a clear manifestation of decades of deprivation of their statehood and identity. From official counts till 4th of August, 872 stone throwing incidents caused injuries to 1,456 security men. Elsewhere nine police stations, police posts, a camp of services special operations group, two houses of political activists,

round 10 government vehicles, a train coach besides a railway station itself and 13 government office buildings have been destroyed as revenge for killing over 60 Kashmiris, mostly teenagers by security forces deployed in Kashmir. A police officer was quoted as having said: “They are taking over the country and we are to face their wrath. It is not a simple law and order problem.”

The fact that the Indian leadership always viewed the core issue of Kashmir as a security issue rather than a political one has made the people of Jammu and Kashmir robust in their demands. During the past 20 years, it has been recognized by India and Pakistan as the core issue that mars the security of the region.

Many a times the echoes of ‘out of the box’ solution gathered optimism but as always have been in the India-Pakistan context, that remain a far cry. Meanwhile, the Kashmir’s current wave of struggle driven by the valiant youth continues to claim innocent lives at the hands of Indian security forces.