Ranchi: While news is coming from Hyderabad that, the AP govt. is ready to apologise to Muslim youth and the community for its role in Macca Masjid blast case of 2007, here in the capital city of Jhakhand, the leading newspapers are hell bent to manufacture Muslim ‘terrorists’. On 15th of December, almost all newspapers prominently published a news item, state’s Muslims’ link with terror groups, on their front page giving maximum possible space. It was banner news for Prabhat Khabar which reads, “Indian Mujahideen main do Baryatau ke bhi (Two of Indian Mujahideen’s are from Baryatu)”, with a slight difference, Dainik Jagaran’s headline, which was third lead news on the front page reads, “Indian Mujahadeen ke do Aatanki Baryatu ke (Two of Indian Mujahadeen’s terrorist hails from Baryatu), Dainik Bhaskar making it as second lead story on front page ‘revealed’, “Aatanki Dastak ( Terrorist’s Knock)”. Baryatu is a Muslim concentration area of Ranchi.
Police officials deny such info
“There are no such reports received by us, either from state or central intelligence agencies”, said K D Singh, SHO of Baryatu Police Station while taking to TwoCircles.net sitting at his chamber. “It is unfortunate and a very irresponsible attempt by media organisations,” he added. “It can breed terror and suspicion not only amongst Muslims but other communities,” he feared. Earlier, Director General of Police (DGP) of the state, Neyaz Ahmad has denied such information, in an interaction with a Hindi daily Hindusstan he said, “I don’t have any such information of Ranchi’s youth with terror link”. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ranchi, Praveen Kumar had also denied of any such information in recent days. “We had had correspondences with central home ministry regarding two local youth. But after then I have no such information,” he told a reporter.
Communal witch-hunt by newspapers
Though, the police officials of the state made it very clear on the very first day that, there are no such information but newspapers continued its utmost efforts to manufacture Muslim terrorists and malign the Muslim concentrated localities or cities and districts. Prabhat Khabar in its sub-heading wrote, “Millat Calony Baryatu ke rahane wale hain Danish aur Imtiyaz urf Immuddin” (Danish and Imtiyaz alias Immuddin are residents of Millat Colony, Baryatu). The newspaper claimed as pointers, “Jamtada main dikhe the Hyderabad main blats karne wale, Jamshedpur main pakdaye the do, Ajmer ghatna main Jamtada se giraftari, Hazaribagh main mare gaye the do” ( The bombers of Hyderabad were seen in Jamtada, Two were arrested from Jamshedpur, Arrest from Jamtada in Ajmer incident, Two were killed in Hazaribagh ). Dainik Bhaskar wrote, “Vanarasi Blast main wanted dono aatanki ke Ranchi wa Jamshedpur main chipe hone ki aashanka hai…inme ek ke Baryatu thana antargat chipe hone ki suchana hai” ( Both the terrorists wanted of Vanarasi blast case are likely to be hidden in Ranchi or Jamshedpur…one of them being reported to be hidden in Baryatu Police station area)The most important point to be noted here and disturbing aspect is that, all the places named above points the finger towards a particular community—Muslim as all the cities and district linked above are the Muslim concentrated areas of state. Next day, on December 16th, the media did the same kind of communal reporting. Prabhat Khabar, Dainik Bhaskar, Dainik Jagran, The Pioneer, The Telegraph, Ranchi Express and all followed the pattern set on the previous day. While others only filed reports, Prabhat Khabar wrote an editorial with heading “Chote Shahar Main Aatanki” (Terrorists in small cities. However, Hindustan Hindi defying the pattern did a story on third page, which proved that all the claims have no substantial base.
Source of information?
When police officials are saying, there is no such information about any youth then what could be the source, one would certainly ask. The reporter who did the story using his byline in a Hindi daily told TwoCircles.net that, it came during the daily press briefing of special branch to selective reporters. “The news came from Delhi and we were asked to have a look of the union home ministry website where list of the Indian Mujahadeen and other people is available,” he added further, “and so on the basis of our conversation and reports available on the website, I did the story,” he added. But interestingly, when this writer tried searching the same on the official website of union home ministry, could not find anything on those lines.Of terror and suspicion
Meanwhile, due to all the screaming headlines and baseless reportage of most of the media houses, there is an acute sense of terror and suspicion amongst the residents, youth of Muslim concentrated localities. In Baryatu, a Muslim concentrated area of Ranchi, not a single youth is willing to discuss this issue and identify them with the boys named in the newspapers though both the boys are from same locality. While Manzar works in the city itself, Danish is working in Hyderabad and keep visiting home during festivals. “The people of the locality are troubled by the baseless allegation by media and under shock,” said Maulana Asgar Misbahi, an eminent community leader of the city and Khateeb of Baryatu Jama Masjid. “It is really unfortunate creating suspicion about each other,” he added. In fact, this writer who lives in the same locality and a newcomer to the area is under suspicion. On Saturday, the ward commissioner of the locality whispered in his friend’s ears about me, “He seems to be from IB”, when I was clicking a picture of Muharram procession in the locality. People of other areas of the city have started viewing the area as ‘terror hub’.
Some hard questions
While it is important to ask how there are so many similarities in the news items including headines of many newspapers. Here another important question arises, if IB or Special Branch has had any such information then why did not it inform the police department? Was it not an irresponsible and careless behaviour by IB or Special Branch? Or was it, yet another attempt to manufacture Muslim ‘terrorist’ in association with the media houses?
( Mahtab Alam is a civil rights’ activist and Special Correspondent of TwoCircles.net, currently based at Ranchi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org