File image of Tablighi Jamaat attendees being moved out of the Nizamuddin Markaz mosque in New Delhi | Photo: ANI
File image of Tablighi Jamaat attendees being moved out of the Nizamuddin Markaz mosque in New Delhi | Photo: ANI
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Some news channels appear to be suffering from an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD. There is a baffling insistence on repeating themselves and repeating themselves, and repeating themselves — oops, see, it’s catching.

If you are a regular viewer of Hindi news channels, you will be much struck, if not dumbstruck, by the obsession of channels such as Zee News, India TV, News18 India or News Nation — among others — with the Tablighi Jamaat.


Also Read: RSS says Tablighi Jamaat conduct not reflection on all Muslims, they’re aiding govt in fight


Tablighis replaced Pakistan

Such is the hold Tablighis have on these channels, that they have achieved the impossible: displaced Pakistan as their primary target.

It is just over a month since we saw the first reports of Tablighi Jamaat members streaming out of Delhi’s Nizamuddin West colony, from the local markaz. They were quarantined but other members, who had left the premises earlier, had spread out across India, often taking the coronavirus with them. Last week, the Union health ministry said roughly 30 per cent of the total cases in India could be traced back to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation.

The figures are so stark that nothing more needs to be said.

But that hasn’t stopped some news channels. In the last month, they have pursued the Tablighi and its leader Maulana Muhammad Saad with single-minded determination.

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Channels have gone to extreme lengths to include Tablighi into their reports (is it a keyword that helps drive viewership?). Last week, a News 24 report on Ayodhya being coronavirus-free noted that even the ‘Jamaatis’ in the city had tested negative.

Aaj Tak, Sunday, referred to the Prime Minister’s Mann ki Baat in which he asked the public to stop spitting. The anchor brought up the Tablighi Jamaat — there have been unsubstantiated reports of Tablighi patients spitting in the quarantine facilities — as though they are the only people who spit in India.

Such is the power of this rumour that on Tuesday, the BJP MLA from Deoria defended his ‘advice’ to not buy vegetables from Muslim vendors, on the basis of complaints that they spat on the vegetables.

From Monday to Wednesday, News Nation, which has led the charge against the Tablighi, has been hunting for Maulana Saad. Anchor Deepak Chaurasia said with some exasperation, Tuesday, “Maulana Saheb, hain kahan?”

News18 India and ABP joined News Nation alleging that Tablighis were misbehaving in a Kanpur hospital. The channels said they demanded biryani, meat — this is another popular story, true or untrue, making the round on Hindi TV news.

Zee News played an audio clip of a nurse at Delhi’s LNJP Hospital who claimed that she had been assaulted by Jamaati patients. News18 India’s ‘Bhaiya ji Kahin’ discussed the religion of the street-side vendors.

And on Monday evening, India TV discovered Jamaatis hidden in different states of India — it claimed 400 were hiding in UP, Bihar and Maharashtra.


Also Read: Tablighis donate plasma, urge others to be donors as they look to put Covid controversy behind


Stigmatisation of Muslims 

There was one positive story: Tablighi Jamaat members, who had recovered from Covid, have donated plasma to help possibly cure others. News 24CNN News18 and News18 India were appreciative, India TV, however, acknowledged the gesture but added, sarcastically, “Jamaat have gone to do something good”. Zee News said, “Khoon ka dharm”.

Tuesday saw another spate of reports: India TV said Jamaatis had infected children in Kanpur madrasas and reported on Tablighi Covid-19 carriers in Pune.

News18 India wondered if Maulana Saad was about to be arrested, while ABP ran a story on the Tablighi leader in Pakistan Tariq Jamil, who had apparently made derogatory statements about women in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan. And News Nation remained in hot pursuit of the elusive Muhammed Saad.

These reports may be true; however, do they convey the latest news on the coronavirus that viewers need to know about when even over 30,000 cases have been reported in the country?

Or do they, instead, stigmatise the entire Tablighi community and, by extension, Muslims?

The latter point is important.

One example why: On Monday, Zee News reported that a delivery person boy, Usman was turned away by a customer in Mumbai. The boy Usman shared a video in which he is apparently saying that he was being turned away because he was a Muslim. The customer claimed he saw Usman touching his face and got worried. The Zee anchor sided with the customer.

Channels also reported on vendors and shops with ‘Hindu’ and ‘Muslim’ written on them.

Just over a week ago, the PM Narendra Modi had has advised against stigmatising a community: “Covid-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or border before striking…” he said in a post on LinkedIn. This week, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat declared, “We should not blame the entire community for the mistakes of a few individuals.’’

Clearly, some Hindi news channels are not listening to either leader.

Lastly, the Bulandshahr incident in which two sants were murdered — follows the lynching of two saints in Palghar, Maharashtra mid-April.

The Bulandshahr incident was reported by several news channels but lost steam, almost immediately after it was reported that they were murdered by an allegedly drunken villager.

Cut to the coverage of Palghar on 20 and 21 April: it was the main report all day on TV news and led to debates across leading English and Hindi channels — and it’s still being talked about, even though over 100 people have been arrested. Tuesday saw questions raised on News X, Republic TV and News Nation about a ‘conspiracy’…

Of course, Palghar was a horrific lynching, but in Bulandshahr, it was a murder. The difference is that TV channels accepted what authorities said in the latter but are questioning them on the former.

Does this strike you as odd?

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27 Comments Share Your Views

27 COMMENTS

  1. Neither I understand nor wish to know who gave an idiot like you space to write.But just one thing,don’t use name of a mental disorder to compensate for your lack of knowledge.OCD can make a persons life hell,which nobody must experience.

  2. There goes The Print again – advocating for appeasement.
    TJ should ask their head Mullah to surrender.
    When Maulana Khandelvi the head of TJ is arrested and tried, this case will be old news.

  3. I think this article has OCD with RSS or BJP. Open you brains and look beyond. If Kanika Kapoor is criticized and trolled for irresponsible behaviour for hiding her condition and attending parties ” The Print” and the likes of Rafiq Baba dont find that a RSS agenda!! nothing seems odd then. But if Tablighi is called out for their blatantly irresponsible behaviour even AFTER knowing rhe mistake committed by Kanika Kapoor which came into highlight much earlier than TJ fiasco then suddenly you cry it Communalism/ anti- musim etc.. WHY? Why should TJ be given exceptions from being called out for their crime. More than any other community they put their own Muslim brothers staying with them in the TJ bldg & mosques the infected preachers went, at risk so who is standing up for those poor unsuspecting citizens of the country even muslims. Dont you think it is odd The Print is justifying TJ putting other muslims in the country at risk and justifying the Maulana responsible for that not coopertaing with authorities?? Actually this is what strikes as ODD – The Print looking for face saving for what is called “shooting yourself in your own foot” !!!!

  4. Our private media is sold out and they are hate mongers. They have good earnings on Hindu muslim topics. Companies who are sponsoring them are equal share holders in spreading hate. Aajtak, Republic, Deepak chaurasia all of them are super spreader of hate which is most dangerous than corona. Corona may go soon, but hate will remain even in generations. Govt should cancel licence and spread harmony in country.

  5. Same you people are sticking against Hindu. And always against Hindu tradition and Dharm.. y

  6. Coz these channel wants to hide many facts under this news coverage. …they dont bother about day judgment…so thay are so rude…middle east many covid patients are non muslims but have they used any term for them like covid jihad used by media in india?? No…covid originated from China…many gathering other then Delhi markaz..around 8 gathering bigger then markaz reported between 9 to 19th March. Non were traced and tested..not in any news..why cases are rapidly increasing in Ahmedabad not in any news… I request news channels to stop spreading hatred..covid has no religion all we have to fight together..

  7. Dear Team,

    Hope you are doing well

    Thank you for a great article but I do not understand why you’d need to bring up an actual mental illness for a catchy headline?
    OCD isn’t a choice which I am guessing you are not familiar with, would request you to remove the term OCD from the title of this article.

    Regards
    Akhilesh

  8. Your kind of secularism has been truely dead and buried.
    You people have foisted a wicked form of secularism on India, which has done incalculable harm to us, both Hindus and Muslims. Nay, to Indians.
    Kindly stop spreading your false secularism.
    Guilty are guilty, inspite of belonging to any religion and if this is pointed out, it is not communalism.

  9. These brave channels should keep up the good work, and continue to plug the story till this infection is active. If some people think that calling out Tabligi Jamaatis for its actions, is defaming the Muslim community, then so be it. Truth should never be suppressed. And for the information, many middle east countries including Saudi Arabia have banned the organisation Tablighi Jamaat.

  10. When news channels r owned by politicians and corporates, they run an agenda suitable to them which is like a cancer to the society at large. The earlier it is thrown out, the better it is for the entire Nation.

  11. Under the influnce of RSS’s ill conceived Hindutva agenda all Indian private TV chennels except a few try to justify everything wrong against muslims now particularly by targeting Tabligee Jammat. Seeing that BJP has been successful in acomplishing this agenda be it by covert means, they are busy in propgating falsehood and shall never tell the truth. Such a falsehood is more harmful than RSS’s lathi and Goli slogan.

    • I think this article has OCD with RSS or BJP. Open you brains and look beyond. If Kanika Kapoor is criticized and trolled for irresponsible behaviour for hiding her condition and attending parties ” The Print” and the likes of Rafiq Baba dont find that a RSS agenda!! nothing seems odd then. But if Tablighi is called out for their blatantly irresponsible behaviour even AFTER knowing rhe mistake committed by Kanika Kapoor which came into highlight much earlier than TJ fiasco then suddenly you cry it Communalism/ anti- musim etc.. WHY? Why should TJ be given exceptions from being called out for their crime. More than any other community they put their own Muslim brothers staying with them in the TJ bldg & mosques the infected preachers went, at risk so who is standing up for those poor unsuspecting citizens of the country even muslims. Dont you think it is odd The Print is justifying TJ putting other muslims in the country at risk and justifying the Maulana responsible for that not coopertaing with authorities?? Actually this is what strikes as ODD – The Print looking for face saving for what is called “shooting yourself in your own foot” !!!!

  12. Wasn’t the source the conference? Wasn’t the conference conducted by the talighi jamaath? Isn’t it factual? If you connect the tablighi jamaath with a religion, is it your fault or theirs?

  13. These channels are subversives and serve ulterior motives of agencies that want disturbance in India.
    There should be an investigation to their links with foreign powers who want to threaten peace.

  14. As you say, these channels are “still stuck on Tablighi Jamaat” ……. but possibly for good reasons.
    The public needs to be reminded that in a time of crisis, these ‘model citizens’ as a group were demonstrating ‘model behaviour’ ….. i.e. spitting on doctors who were trying to help them, misbehaving with female nurses, causing chaos in quarantine facilities and sexually harassing female medical staff.
    Don’t you think that this needs to be reported in the media?

  15. Modi Godi Media News AnchorsPpart of RSS/BJP Propaganda Machinery
    What kind of news do you want? Fake / Lies or truth.
    Visit Hindu Muslim Hate Rate Fake News programs on Modi’s scripts
    Sudhir Chowdhry Zee Tv – Arnab Goswami Republic World. -Rajat Sharma India Tv.- Rohit Sardana ABP News – Amish DevganNews 18 India- Deepak Chaurasia News Nation.

  16. add tv 9 hindi, republic, india today. there is not a single day that reference is not made to jamaat. all are the same. times now is worse. calling themselves neutral. you name the editors and anchors. Rahul Kanwal, amit, sardana, kashyap, rahul sivasankaran, and almost all times now anchors, and editors , cnbc 18 hindi vajpayee, anand narasimhan from cnn18, name them. they all have agenda, probably aided and abetted by their corporate owners who are all close to Modi and Shah for reasons known only to them. Electronic media is 90 percent tabloid. gossip, agenda setting and propaganda. even vernacular print in hindi has been found to be totally compromised. and apex court today ruled that in national interest Neet has to be implemented by the minority institutions defeating the very spirit of the protection enjoyed under the constitution. the “othering and total marginalisation of muslims has already set in motion and only thing remaining is disenfranchisement and stripping of rights”even basic . and the apex court and the fourth estate, most of them. have become willful partners in this grand “hindutva project

  17. Common sense says that when the tide turns, people like Rajat Sharma and Subhash Chandra and their paid HMVs will be hounded. To what extent, only time will tell. They should be prepared for it. Their bravery, their conviction, will be tested. You cannot incite murder, or shout wolf, and get away with it. Raj Kumar in movie WAQT twirls a knife in his hand and says, “yeh bachchon ke khelne ki cheez nahin hai Jani; lug jaaye, toh khoon nikal aata hai”.

  18. Looks like this news report forgets that 90% of the Covid cases in Tamil Nadu are by Thabligis. Please check your facts.

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