By Zahra Motorwala
Some time back, I read an article in the Tehelka dated 29th January 2010, the article was related to the Malegaon terror attacks of 2006. Swami Aseemananda confessed that these attacks were done by a group of RSS pracharaks which proves that it was not a Muslim terror attack. Not only did he take responsibility for the Malegaon blasts but also the Ajmer sheriff blasts, Samjhauta express blastand Mecca Masjid attacks. This raises a question against the police who created a false case against nine muslim men in the Malegaon blasts only because they thought it was a Muslim terror attack.
There were 12 men who were implicated for the attacks only because they were Muslim. This being the primary reason for their implication clubbed with other minor issues. Nine of these 12 men are in jail for more than 4 years while the other 3 have disappeared fearing police brutalities as I gather from the Tehelka article. But this was not reported by the mainstream media. When I read this article I realized what the situation for an Indian Muslim is today. they are not safe in their own country, their own land their our own homes even. The places where they and their ancestors have lived forever are also not called ours today. Normal people living a normal life were accused because of some meager reason which does not even justify his involvement in the attacks. I was taken aback by this story as while reading it I realized that someday even I could be convicted for no fault of mine but because I am muslim. The thought was petrifying. These men must be going through a whole lot of problems specially coming from societies where going to jail is a taboo and people start looking down upon you. For respectable middle class men to be taken to jail and convicted for a crime they have not committed, spoils their future and destroys their life. They are socially abandoned by their families, friends and society and nothing done later to correct this gross mistake can get them back their old lives and dignity in community.
Tehelka did a follow-up story about these men and their families and how they have survived. I was very touched by this article for the simple reason that it has brought out the misery of the people who were falsely implicated. Their families would have gone unnoticed if not for this article because the mainstream media does not consider such stories important. This kind of news stories do not interest the people because they are not glamorous and cannot be sensationalized. But this becomes a disadvantage for such families whose stories remain untold and their grief unknown. The mainstream media is so naïve about such news that giving them coverage is not even thought of. The media anyway covers very little of the Muslim community and if ever there is a mention it’s along with the mention of terrorism. It has become a stereotype all Muslims are put into either being terrorists or religious fanatics thanks to their representation by the media.
The media plays a major role in breaking or making people and more often than not there is propaganda used in the coverage of news. Only news that can fetch revenue is covered the rest however important is left aside on the pretext of keeping their audiences glued and advertisers happy. And the fact remains that nobody cares unless it happens to them. We do not object on something wrong happening until and unless it’s about us or our near and dear ones. This is human behavior. Man by virtue is selfish thus everybody thinks of themselves than about others. But the role of the media in a democracy is to bring forth the truth to the people and act as a watchdog of the system and government.
The news media is deviating from is role and getting involved in unnecessary jargon. This is a major reason we need to adopt alternate media for ‘NEWS’ in the true sense of it.