Arnab should not have called Muslim journalist a cover for Indian Mujahideen

Antra Vijay
Antra VijayMay 26, 2016 | 15:47

Arnab should not have called Muslim journalist a cover for Indian Mujahideen

On May 23, Arnab Goswami on his Times Now show The Newshour plunged sensationalised journalism, an art he has been stealthily mastering, to a new low by calling Asad Ashraf, a journalist and a guest on his show, a cover for the terrorist organisation Indian Mujahideen.


Because Ashraf is a Muslim.

Ashraf, along with a handful of other people, were branded as "attack sympathisers" and "Batla stand defenders" in a show that superficially debated the recent release of an (Islamic State) ISIS propaganda video, which reportedly featured Mohammad "Bada" Sajid, a terror suspect who belonged to the Indian Mujahideen's Azamgarh module and was one of the two militants who had allegedly escaped the Batla House encounter.


The encounter, which took place on September, 19, 2008, was an operation initiated by the Delhi Police against the Indian Mujahideen, whose alleged operatives were suspected of hiding in the Batla House locality in the capital's Jamia Nagar area. They were held responsible for the 2008 bomb blasts in Delhi.

This encounter led to the death of two suspected terrorists and police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma. Two of the alleged terrorists, however, managed to escape.

It also led to massive protests in the city by various groups, including people of the Batla House locality and teachers and students of the Jamia Millia Islamia. Whether the encounter was fake or not is still a subject of heated debate and discussion among various social, political and academic platforms.

Amidst the frenzy around the release of the video and the question of its authenticity, which was also raised on the show by various participants, it is important to remember that the video itself has been taken down and is unavailable.

All Ashraf was attempting to do on the show was highlight the loopholes in the police's version of the Batla House encounter. As a journalist, I felt, he had every right to do so. He was by no means attempting to say the accused were innocent.


Of course, we must, as Goswami urges us to, think about the security and future of the country. But what shocked me while watching the show is the fate of the media and journalism in this nation.

The debate exposed two kind of journalism at play.

Goswami’s brand of journalism, which is both fed by and feeds on viewer ratings, is of screaming at others and tautology. He invites people less for conducting a debate and more for pillorying them with condemnations and accusations, and not allowing them the courtesy of defending themselves.

It made me sick to the stomach to see Goswami's brand of journalism trying to silence Ashraf's journalism, which merely wanted to open the debate up, question rather than claim.

Goswami said in the show more than once, “You guys are playing a dangerous game. Think of the country."

It's time he does the same.

Last updated: May 27, 2016 | 18:21
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