Monday, 17 January 2011

Media and Demolition of religious structures

Some days back demolition of two religious structures took place in Delhi, and these were reported in the Newspapers. Got a message from an ex-colleague of mine, which started of basically like this:

1.  DDA demolished an illegal 12 yr old, 20 ft mosque on High court order in Jangpura,Delhi, result-Violent mob, anti national sermons, stone pelting, curfew, damaged buses, cars, Tear gases, thousand armed policemen spectators, traumatised citizens,  CM, MLAs, Mulayam on the feet of belligerent Imam, Namaz at the demolished site, temporary structure erected, CM pledges to rebuilt mosque.

2. CPWD razed a 30 year old, 70 sqr yard temple and God idols with Bulldozers in Pushp vihar, Delhi on 'Religious committee' orders, result--broken idols in scattered debris, crying pujari, stunned and mum citizens, no protest, no slogans, no policemen, no politician,

I wonder - We tend to blame politicians but what was the media coverage on these two demolitians - which grabbed bigger headlines? Why?
Did the media fulfil its role of being impartial? If it had, would the public and the mob have reacted differently? Would the protests on the demolition of the mosques have been less? Maybe, just maybe, the focus would have shifted out from the word “mosque” to “demolition”. And, just maybe, the fact that illegal structures are treated as illegal structures would have emerged.  Maybe the mob and the politicians could then have woken up to their responsibility of showing that there is no discrimination in the name of religion. Maybe no stone pelting, no damaging of vehicles, no violence.  Maybe.  Just maybe.

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