New York Times (NYT) is topping the charts of India-haters and if facts are the essence of journalism, it stares at an unprecedented credibility crisis. (Do check a piece on them I had done this week itself).
It has run a story today which claims that India is filling up its prisons with dozens of its critics in a nationwide crackdown. I ran up and down the 1000-word bile but couldn’t find those multiple cities which could be described as a “nationwide” crackdown.
It has built up its story around one Natasha Narwal, a social activist, who has been booked by the Delhi Police for murder, terrorism and instigating religious violence. The newspaper openly accuses the Delhi Police of vendetta since a judge had earlier released Narwal, albeit in a separate case. What New York Times has hidden is that Narwal’s bail plea was refused on July 14—a good five days before this piece has been published. But then why let facts come in the way of a bucket of lies?
If the NYT had not hidden this refusal of bail, the readers would’ve known that the investigations allege the activist was actively “participating to cause riots in Delhi.” The judge had noted that there was no merit in her bail application. These riots had claimed 59 innocent lives, so it’s not a small fact, howsoever oddball it is to NYT.
The newspaper has quoted from a couple of human rights groups and a lawyer. All deserve a closer look.
Let’s begin with Human Rights Watch and its South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly. The newspaper quotes her that these cases against the activists appear to be “politically motivated.” This is the same Ms Ganguly which had earlier claimed that Kashmiri Pandits had been “asked” to leave the valley in 1990. As many as 500,000 Kashmiri Hindus were driven out of the Valley, many were killed and raped, and the lady sounded as if they had received an envelope in a letterbox to pack up and leave their homes of decades. Kashmiri Muslims had caused this tragedy, a true “pogrom” of Hindus but it’s not even a footnote in discussion. You can’t accuse NYT of not having chosen their sources with care.
The newspaper sheds copious tears that one Khalid Saifi, a member of United Against Hate group, was arrested, his only crime being “he is a Muslim.” Apparently, New York Times and United Against Hate group have a way of helping each other out in hate stories. I am not sure if this group is an Indian extension of one with a similar title in the United States. But for a social activist network, it’s surprising that United Against Hope neither has a facebook page, a twitter handle or a website of its own. But these are minor details. Look at how the two—NYT and United Against Hate—have cooked up stuff in the past.
In February this year, Human Rights Group had quoted a fact-checker source to publish a report which claimed that cow vigilantes have hurt Muslims and Dalits at the provocation of leaders of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). A diligent Indian reporter went through the haystack of lies to come up with irrefutable evidence to the contrary. This Indian reporter had then cautioned the NYT correspondent who had penned the piece. Guess what, the NYT piece of then and now is both written by one Kai Schultz. NYT of course wouldn’t bother if there is a quid pro quo involved. Afterall, a dubious group is the building block of fake NYT stories of hate against Modi’s India.
NYT also mentions a report of Delhi Minorities Commission which has accused the police and politicians from Modi’s party in supporting a “pogrom” against minority Muslims. This commission is under the control of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who run Delhi government and are sworn opponent of the Modi government. How unbiased NYT thinks this Commission would be in presenting the facts? NYT, for sure, won’t tell the readers that the chairman of this commission, Zafarul Islam, is a known sympathizer of radical Islamist and terror sympathizer Zakir Naik. NYT won’t tell that this commission is headed by a person who is threatening Hindus with “avalanche” from the Arab world. And that he is facing a sedition charge from the Indian state.
NYT further quotes a lawyer who is a radical Leftist and associated with several Communist mouthpieces. It quotes a police official, without naming him, that orders from higher-ups are not allowing a persecution case to be filed against a young BJP leader, Kapil Mishra. Readers must believe the NYT that this police official exists and is not a figment of imagination. And of course no mention is made of Congress Party’s matriarch Sonia Gandhi who openly exhorted the crowd for fight-to-finish against the Citizenship Amendement Act (CAA).
Either NYT still thinks India is a land of snake-charmers. Or it feels nobody in India knows its track-record of lies and propaganda. NYT sold a lie to its own citizens on Iraq War. The world is still counting its cost. It ran a pile of lies on Iran’s nuclear programme. In 1983 it had claimed that Soviets had destroyed a civilian Korean airliner 007. Five years later they had to acknowledge that they had lied, not by pangs of ethics but because a congressperson’s inquiry had nailed them down.
New York Times had cheered when a “democratically elected” president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez had been forced to step down. The newspaper had described the ruinous win of Boris Yeltsin in 1996 as “A Victory for Russian Democracy.” With such a dubious record, NYT still expects that people would swallow its rant on “democracy” and “human rights.” A naked emperor would surely identify with them.