Media Watch: Spreading lies and falsehood

Rajiv Lochan

Pushing falsehood and promoting anti-social behavior is what D Raja, general secretary CPI, does when he writes in the Indian Express that: “There is no evidence other than rumours that the government’s instructions on the coronavirus pandemic were purposefully ignored.” (Online edition of Indian Express: The pandemic has exposed the limits of capitalism and print edition of Indian Express: Revealed by the Virus – The pandemic has exposed the limits of capitalism)

Indian Express chose to relay Raja’s article. It first appeared in the print edition of March 11 under the name ‘Revealed by the virus’

The India Today put together the speeches of the Tablighi Jamaat to give a lie to the apologists of wrong doers.

D Raja concludes his column by inviting all readers to be as miserable as they were made by the now dead ideology of communism by observing: “It is becoming more and more evident that socialism is the alternative. It is the future and hope.”

D Raja rounds up his column with the following words: “Let me quote what Winston Churchill said way back in 1954 — “the inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries”.

It is a matter of fact that the Tablighis in Nizamuddin were saying all sorts of weird things and insisting on consciously behaving in a manner that was extremely harmful and dangerous to everyone.

It is also a matter of fact that for many days AFTER, being called out, they still insisted on following their path.

It is also a matter of fact that a very large number of tablighis lied about their movements and hid the information.

It is also a matter of fact that once there was an upsurge of revulsion against them, they persisted with their behaviour; only when violence became imminent did they quickly delete those obnoxious videos that effectively preached that the true path of Islam is to infect everyone.

The thing to take note of is the persistent efforts by the Congress eco-system, both Hindus and Muslims, to whitewash the extremely bad behaviour of the tablighis and, to justify it. News channels like the NDTV and the BBC News हिन्दी actively went out of their way to spread falsehoods by hiding the truth, suggesting the untruth. TheWire.in, ThePrint and similar channels known for spreading falsehood did indulge in their usual game of hiding the truth and suggesting the falsehood. Rahul Gandhi remained silent as did the Indian National Congress.

First the false justification was on the excuse that tablighis are harmless people. Then the false justification was that they never intended to cause harm. Then they tried to normalise the tablighi behaviour by pointing at Adityanath conducting pooja or some other idiots holding birthday parties. The Congress eco-system insisted that all this was ‘Hindu’ behaviour.

Then people like D Raja, even went to the extent of insisting publicly, in writing, that such bad behavior never happened, is a falsehood being foisted on the Tablighis by communal Hindus. The very fact that a leading newspaper thought it fit to publish such a canard also suggests editorial acquisence.

The days of creating such narratives are over even though those who hope to create such a narrative have not yet given up hope of success.

If Narendra Modi’s bhakts try to create such a narrative, try to excite hatred against Muslims or anyone else, they get called out just as easily.

Hopefully, the common person in India, now with a greater experience of dealing with false news, will reject both sets of falsehoods, have faith in the proper processes of a civilised society, and deal with problem situations in a civilised manner.

In Chandigarh villages, for example, recently we saw a Muslim youth spitting on walls and shop fronts. The shop keepers warned him. He persisted. The shop keepers called the police. The police came, arrested the Muslim young man, took him to a magistrate who released him on bail. Neither the shop keepers, nor the villagers, nor the police thought it fit to beat this Muslim young man to pulp for clearly endangering their lives.

This kind of changed behaviour is happening in most of the country.


The author, Rajiv Lochan, is a JNU alumnus and an acclaimed historian

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