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Today’s Phrase is 'Douse The Flame' And Not 'Stoke The Flame'

VVP Sharma @vvemuri

Updated: July 11, 2017, 5:35 PM IST
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Today’s Phrase is 'Douse The Flame' And Not 'Stoke The Flame'
Security forces deployed in Anantnag after the attack on a bus full of pilgrims returning from Amarnath Yatra.
The social media is agog with the killing of the Amarnath pilgrims in Kashmir. The government is being flayed, the intelligence agencies are being praised, the bravery of the bus driver is being lauded. There are cries for revenge, but the quantum of blood-curdling yells has reduced palpably. Too much of blood has perhaps sickened the heart and deadened the response instinct. Some meaningful debates on the issues of terrorism, religion and nationalism could be followed.

Amid this, gentleman-author Chetan Bhagat contributed his mite in a tweet. He wrote: “When Junaid dies, media says he was killed for being Muslim. So why not say those killed in #AmarnathTerrorAttack were killed for being Hindu?”

I can understand zealots and orthodox savants not letting go. But the gentleman in question? What was the objective of his observation, if that is an observation? Was it a criticism of the media? Was it his idea of telling the media how to report the incident? Was it a note of sarcasm?

He tried to over-simplify things, not perhaps realizing that it can stoke unwanted emotions. Avoidable, unwanted emotions.

The terrorist attack, coming in the midst of violence over non-issues, was incendiary enough. The idea, then, is not to stoke the flame further. Rather, it is to douse the flame completely. The media has its shortcomings, but one of them is certainly not to inflame unwanted sentiments.

Secondly, highlighting the religious identity of the victims depends on the context and circumstances; something the responsible media understands.

In the case of Junaid and the Amarnath victims, there was and is no need at all to identify their religion. Human beings were killed. Irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and gender.

In both cases, which are the outcome of violence borne out of pumped up orthodox zealotry, it is not the religion of the victim but the ideology of the killers that is relevant.

‘Hindus’ did not kill Junaid. Cow protection mobs which took to lynching to assert their new-found vigilante muscle-flexing status killed him. It is not that these mobs say only Hindus will get membership. It is that people of other religious persuasions have not yet joined them. And, by the way, these mobs also beat up Dalit youth in Gujarat, isn’t it? Didn’t they lynch two Hindu men along with some Muslim men in Jharkhand recently?

‘Muslims’ did not kill the Amarnath pilgrims. Pakistan-encouraged terrorists carried out the attack not without support from locals. It is not that these terror outfits restrict membership only to Muslims. It is that people of other religious persuasions are yet to join them. Don’t they say that mercenaries have no religion? Incidentally, didn’t the media report only yesterday about one terror outfit, the LeT, hiring a Hindu man from Uttar Pradesh to carry out terror activities in Kashmir? And, by the way, who else but the same terrorists lynched Lieutenant Ummer Fayyaz and DSP Mohammad Ayub Pandith?

Social media is a platform for exchange of ideas; not half knowledge.
First Published: July 11, 2017, 5:35 PM IST

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