Editorial

Three National Newspapers Among Several NOT Held for Jamia Gang Rape

According to news reports, on Nov. 29,  a 16-year-old girl walked into a police station and reported that she was held prisoner in a flat in Defence Colony for two months, and was repeatedly raped by a bunch of young men, out of which she supposedly accused six by name.

Providing more detail to the story, newspapers reported that three out of the six are law students at Jamia, one of them worked for an unnamed private company, out of the six accused four were caught and two are absconding. The four caught were also named, and for the sake of this article it should be noted that all of them had Hindu sounding names. Two of the accused are from Haryana, one of them is from Bihar, the third’s state of origin is not mentioned but it is most likely he is also from some state in the North of India.

As for the girl: she is 16-years-old, a resident of Delhi but ethnically Nepalese, and a student of class 11. What school she went to is not mentioned.

The above mentioned is all the information they write about the people involved, both: the culprits and the victim of the crime.

Along with such details, the report tells a long story of how the girl ran away from home, stayed with a friend who later ditched her and told her to stay with some of her trusted friends, which she did, but once the young men found out she was a runaway they threatened her, raped her and kept her locked up for two very long months. The story is horrifying to say the least.

But from all of this information about the incident, most newspapers felt that the most important detail that needed to be highlighted in their headline was which university three out of the six culprits went to. There was something about their association with Jamia that needed to be highlighted in bold letters as part of the headline. Nothing else about the story seemed more important. And this was the case with at least three major national dailies.

As we all know, four of the biggest newspapers in India are The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Indian Express and The Hindu, and they all reported the incident. Following are their headlines:

First, the Times of India ran the headline on their front page that blared: “Three Jamia students among 4 held for Defence Colony gang rape” [Link]

ToI headline reads like three Jamia students gang raped Defence Colony. There is no mention of who got raped. Perhaps for ToI that’s not important; but what is important for them is to mislead their readers into believing that Jamia students went on a raping rampage of Defense Colony.

On the other hand, The Hindustan Times’s headline, which takes the cake, screamed: “16-yr-old girl gang-raped by Jamia students” [Link]

Although they mention a girl was raped, they did not feel the need to mention only three Jamia students were involved in the crime. They simply went ahead and declared that the entire Jamia student body of about 15,000 students raped one poor 16-year-old girl.

And last but not least, The Indian Express headline roared: “16-year-old girl confined, gangraped by 4 Jamia Law students for over 2 months” [Link]

Now though Indian Express mentions the girl and adds details such as she was confined for two months and the fact Jamia students were law students, they, however, just went ahead and turned all of the culprits into Jamia students; as if committing the crime and getting away with it was a Jamia class assignment.

What I fail to understand is how come these three newspapers found the fact that three out of the six culprits were Jamia students to be so important that it needed to be screamed and highlighted as part of the headline? The crime was not committed in Jamia. Everybody involved were not Jamia students. Students were not on a Jamia organized field trip. Jamia is no convent or religious seminary that the involvement of its students would be found shocking. So what was it about their association with Jamia that got the attention of their editors? This question is something that needs to be explored, which I will do later in this article.

And what about the schools or companies of the other culprits? How come they were not even mentioned? One of the accused, we are told, works for a private company. Apparently, this guy works for the only private company in Delhi that does not have a name, and is only known as a private company.

There were other things I felt could have been highlighted. The fact the girl was Nepalese and all of the culprits were North Indians was to me quite significant. We are all aware of the rampant racism there exists in Delhi against the people from the Northeast, Nepal included because of their similar facial features. That to me seemed a more reasonable aspect to highlight than the fact a few of the culprits went to Jamia. Which brings me to the fourth newspaper, The Hindu.

In stark contrast to the three poor excuses for a newspaper, The Hindu ran the headline: “Nepali girl claims being kept in confinement, raped” [Link]

What is so surprising about The Hindu story is that not only do they not mention Jamia in their headline, they do not even mention Jamia in their news story. They simply say, “a reputed Delhi-based university.” The Hindu — probably the only national daily in India with a semblance of journalistic integrity — recognized that it would be wrong to drag Jamia’s name into a story that had very little bearing on the incident reported on. Besides, like people, institutions have a reputation to maintain. And by recklessly associating and highlighting the name of an institution with a heinous crime like rape, newspapers are guilty of defaming the good name of the institution, and all those who are associated with it.

In my opinion the university should write an open letter to the editors of all these newspapers registering their protest on what they have done and must demand an apology from them.

On reading this, some might say, well though it was wrong for these newspapers to highlight Jamia’s name like that, it was just an innocent mistake on the part of the editors. Editors probably felt Jamia was too big a name not be highlighted, regardless of how irrelevant it was to the story. They’re just incompetent editors and did not mean to insinuate anything.

And with those people, I beg to disagree.

I believe the editors of these newspapers knew very well what they were doing. Their intentions were a lot more sinister than we give them credit for. And their motives can be ascertained by the effect these headlines have had on their readers. Just visit the the ToI website and read the comments under it. The last time I checked, there were about 500 comments on this news story. And at least half of the comments are about Islam and Muslims, and how this incident is indicative of something inherently wrong with the religion and its adherents.

I cite a few representative examples below to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

First example: “As usual muslims are the main culprits, they are following their founders footstep.”

This bigot didn’t even bother to read the story and spewed his hate onto the forum. But then that is how many of us read the newspaper. We skim headlines. And that is what he did, and this is why headlines matter so much.

Second example: “First of all they from Harijans (I think he meant to say Haryana), a rapist state, second from Islamic university ,what more you will expect”

First off, this is the first time I’ve heard Haryana being called a rapist state. I don’t know where that’s coming from. And second, conforming to the popular belief among Hindu fanatics, he thinks Jamia is an Islamic university.

Third example: “Glorified jamia, full of Suppressed n rotten minds ……………. BIG SHAME!!!”

The real shame is that ToI allows such ignorant and hateful comments to be published on their website.

The editors of these newspapers know their readers very well. They knew perfectly well that a significant portion of their readership comprises of Islamophobic Muslim-haters. These editors knew very well a headline with the name of Jamia was bound to catch the attention of such prejudiced minds, who unfortunately seem to form a considerable portion of their readership.

These newspapers played to the gallery and appealed to their readers’ base emotions. These newspapers are guilty of fomenting and reinforcing feelings of enmity against the minority community. They might not bear bigoted beliefs themselves, but they know what sells. If spreading hate will push paper, then they have no qualms in doing that exactly — journalistic ethics be damned!

About Khalid Jaleel

Khalid Jaleel is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science. He can be reached via email at: khalidj [at] jamiajournal.com

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20 comments

  1. hell with this biased media

  2. Law says that the identity of a rape victim is to be kept confidential so that she can live a normal life or else everyone would shout out loud that this girl was raped… And the reason why Jamia is being highlighted is because its a highly respectable college and every student dreams of studying here… And no one said that a muslim raped that girl…so why are you shouting that the names sounded Hindu??? And the names were Pulkit Chaudhary, Amandeep, Sharad Shekhar Tomar, Roopenshu and Vikas Punia… and Amit Gautam.

    Stop crying just because our college’s name is there and try thinking like a human…The girl was raped for 2 months,had it been your sister or relative,you would have felt the pain.

    Media knows how to play with the facts but seriously this is not an issue to be raised here and showing how inhumane you are.

  3. hello all..i tooo am from jamia..a law student for that…a hindu for more interest..neways..this post seems to b really really biased..y?cuz d toi comments the author is talking about is more offensive for hindus(which the author has chosen not to mention even once) bcuz all d suspects happen to be hindus.while advocating for jamia’z good name and reputation the author has, for some reason totally chosen to turn his back to the fact that the toi post contains hillarious (and let me be quoted)”SEDITIOUS” comments about hinduism by muslim “FANATICS”. neways to cut short..this is JAMIA JOURNAL WEBSITE.not ur battle ground..so before u decide to open debates about who did what…lets jst open our eyes “fully” and be logical and respect d education jamia gives us…no religion is superior to d other..n its a shame the author is allowed here to present his views which directly produce enemity amongst communities and threaten national integrity..a crime punishable under section 505 OF INDIAN PENAL CODE..for verification the link of the TOI article is-http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Three-Jamia-students-among-4-held-for-Defence-Colony-gang-rape/articleshow/17484621.cms Besides all this i agree with the author on one stand thou..a public apology needs to b asked by all the newspapers who have showed mala fide intention..i m a jamian..a proud one at that..n i too get hurt when someone points at my university..my facebook friends may know what my cover pic depicted about all this yesterday…

  4. nothing to say about rotten mind media. MR. KHALID JALIL u have done great job.

  5. this is insensitive on part of media!!!

  6. as a student of jamia millia islamia, a well known university for its historical and recent achievements, i would like to address the media and all people that a crime does not determine the cast and religion of the accused, if it is committed the person must be held under the code of conduct, no matter from which university and place he or she belongs……the way all three newspapers focused on the reputation of university rather than the accused not belonged to jamia, it shows the total “intellectual bankruptcy” on the part of the editors who tried to create bias on the said issue…….media is the main factor of unrest in the country…

  7. Very True… Sure Khalid bhai indeed it’s all wht damn media misrepresent and increase haters… Jamia must officially come to field for ths and take a serious action

  8. Everything was raised as an issue except he sad fact that a girl was gangraped!

  9. Good Khalid, I like the headline.

  10. I just wish to make one thing clear. A few readers have misunderstood my reason to point out the fact that culprits are Hindu. I point that out because the newspapers are trying to insinuate that somehow the culprits are Muslims because they study at Jamia, when it is clear they are not by their Hindu sounding names. It is not meant to be a slight or insult towards Hindus or Hinduism.

  11. I here would like to point out that this is a case of rape n not a hindu muslim riot. Better would be to keep our religious angles out of it n concentrate on the issue instead. Several times, right from mms scandals to kidnappings, institutions have been named and no one, not even our author n speakers here, raised a hue and cry about it. The issue is no one has the right to violate a woman’s rights and respect and any one trying to do so would be punished, no matter how reputed an institution they belong to. A MINOR GIRL HAS BEEN RAPED. THAT IS THE ISSUE. No one has mentioned it in the way in which it has been interpreted here. So i request that we keep our attention glued to the issue instead of creating new non existent issues out of it.

  12. Great article :)

  13. To Whom It May Concern:

    A Jamia law student has apparently taken offense to the examples I cited from the Times of India discussion forum, which I had made use of to prove that the newspaper headlines were intentionally polarizing in nature, and were meant to incite a bigoted response. And the allegation is, I have only cited comments of Hindu fanatics and left out the retaliatory comments from Muslim fanatics that were made on the ToI website. Furthermore, by being selective in my examples, the allegation goes on, i have been partial and unfair. I have made it look like there are no Muslim fanatics, just Hindu.

    So for those non-existent people of India who are not aware of the fact that there exists fanatics in all religions, I solemnly declare that just like Hindu fanatics, there also exist Muslim fanatics. If this is news to anybody here then please do make yourself known.

    But to explain the exclusion of hateful comments made by Muslims from my article, I’d like to say, the reason they were not included is because I believe they were in response to the hateful comments made against Muslims in the comment section, and could not be, and i repeat, could not be made in reaction to the headline.

    Hope this brings to a close any criticism that suggests that somehow my article was unfair to the Hindus.

    • In today’s world – “if one does not read newspapers then one is uninformed; but if one reads then one is misinformed”. Being the product of culture and specific belief-system one is bound to be subjective and biased but if at the same time common man in general and intellectuals in particular can develop sensitive, especially writing at common domain, towards multiculturalism/ secularism orientations than harmonious and peaceful co-existence of humanity can be ensured eternally.

  14. Mohammad Behzad Fatmi

    With this article, I believe Jamia Journal has achieved a milestone. This is a beautifully written-brave article. Many many congratulations to the editor and Jamia Journal.

  15. I think, media should stop its technique to malign the face of Muslims.

  16. The article is fabulous, I agree with the editor’s view, although it’s not important what is the religion of the culprits? where they belong from? in which university they associated with? Important is that thy have committed a inexcusable crime, thy should be punished, because no religion ,region or institution encourages to do so.

  17. I understand the point you are trying to make here, but i think what the articles were trying to highlight was the fact that UNIVERSITY students, well-educated, and that too, our future lawyers have committed such a heinous crime.
    Also, i think the gang-rape is a bigger priority, and i think this article is somewhat deviating the attention from that, which is really low.

  18. Great article exposing anti-Islam agenda of media. People who disagree, they should first preach those filthy creatures who are commenting non-sense about Islam before saying anything to self defending Muslims.

  19. Here the author has rightly highlighted the ‘Islamophobia’ which exits in the non-muslim section of the media & society as a whole. But on the other hand, notice has to be taken of the ‘Islamomania’ present in the muslim population of our society, where it sees itself as a victim and demands preferential treatment.

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