One incident, two versions

Nobody in India can be in denial about communal clashes, but should the media play them up? Or, jump the gun? On Ram Navami, violence erupted in Kanpur. It happened to be the eve of the polls in Uttar Pradesh. These things can be engineered.

What is disturbing is the manner in which media reports give differing versions. Hindustan Times stated:

Eight people were injured when members of two communities fought a pitched battle over taking out of Ram Navmi procession in Sayed Nagar of Kalyanpur area in Kanpur late Tuesday evening.
Panic spread in the area after the rival groups resorted to indiscriminate firing and lobbed hand-made bombs during the clash. Police had to resort to cane charge to control the mobs after they tried to manhandle them.

Others had something else to say. Take this in Mid-day:

The incident was triggered when the district administration did not allow some people to take out a Ram Navami procession through a certain route in Sundernagar area of Kalyanpur.

HT starts by talking about two communities; Mid-day (The Freepress Journal and IBN too) mention that the administration did not grant permission.

In one the implication is that members of a certain community that is not referred to by name could have created mayhem. In the other, it seems to be a dispute with the administration.

Which one is true?

As I said, communal clashes do take place and it is easy to manufacture them, especially for political parties. Should this mere raw material for a news story? Has there been any interview where the police has blamed any group? What makes some in the media decide on these matters? People were injured, property destroyed. We have our priorities all wrong.

On the other hand, while HT specified that eight people were injured, the rest used an obscure “many”. Even one person is important, and eight are many. But eight is not eighty. It alters how the government and police act upon it.

If the media is concerned about how these issues affect the polls, then they should be the first to maintain some sense of proportion.


  1. FV,

    My Hindu right wing friend is convinced that the whole media apparatus in India is anti-Hindu.

    I often read a whine on pro-Muslim websites how media is staunchly anti-Muslim.

    Now FV also accuses media to be biased against, well, something (I couldn't quite make out what it is. Low readership, perhaps?).

    Most politicians too have trained guns on media at some point in time.

    I guess they must be doing SOMETHING right if opposite camps are accusing them of bias.

  2. Arre behenji,

    aap jitna bhi karein inkaar
    abki baar, Modi sarkaar :)

  3. every communal riots are manufactured to extract political gains. Bengal used to be hub of communal riots , 47/56/64 but during the left rule of 33 yrs there were no communal riots - proves every riots were manufactured by right wingers aligned with political parties. If an administration wants to control communal riot it can very well do so in couple of hours and not days.

  4. void *Al() {return NULL;}12/04/2014, 06:15

    "47/56/64 but during the left rule of 33 yrs there were no communal riots -"

    If you mean the congress, party when you say "left rule" -- the above is false. There were riots in the North East, Tamilnadu, and UP during those times, and even in 1998 in Tamilnadu. However, the last decade has been free of riots -- 2002 was the last one. Poorly equipped and politically neutered and biased police forces make law and order close to non existent even on a daily basis -- there is no indication that the police force can handle more serious situations like riots and this is true for a large part of India.

  5. void *Al() {return NULL;}12/04/2014, 06:28

    ACtually, the last 10 years were not free of riots either -- there was a severe caste riot on Tamilnadu just last year


    India has never been free of riots since independence -- just that some riots are apparently more fashionable to report than others. I mean, who cares if you are a riot victim from a minority hindu caste, right? where's the votes in playing that up. (that's sarcasm, just to be clear)

  6. As we now know, both the BJP's Amit Shah and SP's Azam Khan have been banned from holding rallies in UP due to their hate speeches. The media continues to use their speeches. So the media does not have to adhere to the EC.

    Amusingly, both parties have a problem with the EC trying to create a balance regarding communalism. What a bunch of punks we are.

  7. I merely compared bengal pre-left (congress) and left and thereafter, however rioting continues in the rest of india ex, assam (kokrajhar), UP (muzzafarnagar), orissa (kandhamal), check my blog on this subject on trends on rioting http://alamanalytics.blogspot.ca/2013/09/new-trends-in-rioting.html


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.