Media bias

Of late the Times of India reporting on the terror front has largely been balanced and fair, unlike let us say the Hindustan Times which has been going overboard with the IB plantations. But then there are always some whose political preference for the BJP are no secret and who have been planting anti Muslim stories, sourcing it to Home Ministry/IB and now the NIA sources, right from the good old days when their patron saint LK Advani was the Union Home Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister of the country. In fact the Economic Times bosses including the current Bureau chief of the ToI picked and chose only such a person to cover the Home ministry whose proximity to the Lauh Purush was well established.  Today again we have a plant ostensibly quoting the NIA to pronounce that Bodh Gaya blasts were conducted by the Indian Mujahideen (IM), naturally trying to debunk the Bihar Police investigations which so far point in exactly the opposite direction. And the officer who has revealed that it is IM and only IM and no one else, gave no evidence in support of his presumption. He just said, according to the reporter that, “Going by the modus operandi, nature of explosives and eye witness statements…It is now almost certain that the IM or a local unit owing allegiance to it, carried out the multiple blasts.” Having worked now for donkey’s years on the Home ministry beat would the reporter bother to tell the readers is Ammonium Nitrate available only to the IM in this country? Werent Abhinav Bharat activists like Col Purohit also using ammonium nitrate? I recall a recent supposed terror strike, perhaps the last one in Gujarat, when low intensity bombs were found hanging from tree tops and lamp posts. If I am not wrong that was also presumed to be an IM operation but which was eventually traced to the friends and well wishers of our very own Hindu Hriday Samrat, Narendra Modi.

 

This reminds me of the good old days when I was doing crime reporting in the Delhi Indian Express. I got my transfer from Chandigarh Express to Delhi on May 13, 1985, the day transistor bombs went off in DTC buses. That was a critical time with the Sanghis, who now claim to be big supporters of Sikhs, all labeling Sikhs as terrorists just as they are doing to Muslims today. I covered the gunning down of Seth Arjun Das in the Laxmibai Nagar market and Lalit Maken and his wife outside their house and the most memorable Greater Kailash gunning down of a dozen people by Jinda in the house of the Behls. Those days Amod Kanth used to be the DCP Crime. The Hindustan Times, always the spokesperson for the intelligence agencies had a reporter by the name of Neelima Gandhi and my good friend A R Wig was the City Editor in the HT. Every other day Neelima Gandhi would terrorise the citizens of Delhi, quoting the Crime Branch, (read Amod Kanth) saying ‘Lal Singh’ committed this terror act, Lal Singh is about to poison Delhi’s water works, Lal Singh making plans of a big terror strike in Delhi etc. I did my own little investigations and found that there was no Lal Singh involved in any of the big terror attacks and that this Lal Singh appeared to be a figment of the Crime Branch’s imagination happily lapped up by communally biased reporters. I was still finding my feet in Delhi but I did the story saying there is no Lal Singh and it has all been made up by Delhi Police. Parliament was in session and the story was noticed by the Janata Party/Left MPs who raised it in the House. Naturally that was carried in the next day’s papers because the Government too had no clue about any Lal Singh.

 

That evening when I went to Delhi Police headquarters at ITO, Amod Kanth was furious with me and wouldn’t talk. But later we became good friends and developed long lasting friendship on mutual respect for each other’s intelligence. It is any day easy to carry a plant from a “source” and is particularly helpful if it confirms our preconceived notions. I left doing crime beat more than 25 years ago and if many of them like Amod Kanth, Ved Marwah, Arun Bhagat, Maxwell Pereira and the now retiring Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar has still not forgotten me it is perhaps because I mostly took what they said with a pinch of salt.

 

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