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HomeOpinionTIME drew red X for Osama. But Western press humanised Riyaz Naikoo...

TIME drew red X for Osama. But Western press humanised Riyaz Naikoo with pre-gun stories

Be it the TIME Magazine or The New York Times, the choice between a ‘terrorist’ and a ‘rebel’ is very clear for the Western media.

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On a cold February evening last year, a dead body of a young girl was found lying out in the snow, in orchards of village Dragad, Shopian. Her name was Ishrat Muneer. She was shot in the face by terrorists on orders of Riaz Naikoo, who was killed in an encounter Wednesday.

Ishrat was labelled as an informer and killed in cold blood. A video emerged on social media later that night in which terrorists could be seen shooting her in the face with their AK 47s.

Huzaif Ashraf was 19 when he was abducted by militants in November 2018. Next day, his dead body was recovered from orchards in a Shopian village. A video on social media showed a terrorist slitting his throat. A young boy who deserved to live was labelled an informer and executed on camera in signature ISIS style.

Also read: Riyaz Naikoo — dreaded militant who ‘looted farmers and brought new ruthlessness to Hizbul’

The untold stories

They say dead men tell no tales. But the deaths of these two young people tell the tales of brutalities unleashed by terrorists operating in the Valley. I was district superintendent of police, Shopian during the extremely violent years of 2018 and 2019. I witnessed numerous dead bodies of innocent men and women killed in arbitrary manner by these terrorists, who later emerged as ‘humble’ maths teachers or sometimes a teacher’s son, as soon as they died.

I am compelled to write this piece because the stories that emerge from this place after these terrorists die remain silent on those who become the victims of the former’s terror. The eulogies written by some after the death of such terrorists take this chain of selective reporting further.

Most of these stories of murders by terrorists are brushed under the carpet because they don’t suit the prevalent narrative about Kashmir. I have seen a sinister silence on part of the class which writes eulogies for terrorists when they are killed. The writing is done so cleverly that a terrorist is painted as a school teacher.

Also read: Kashmir’s most wanted terrorist Riyaz Naikoo killed in encounter in his Pulwama village

Twisting the narrative

These attempts at normalisation of terrorism and humanisation of cold-blooded killers originates from the personal position of safety from such actions. The intimate connection between a killer’s thought and his defender’s ideology has made terrorism in this place as routine as going for a walk in your neighbourhood park.

The eulogy written for a terrorist mentions his life before he picked the gun. Which is absolutely right as far as story-telling about a man’s journey goes. But this eulogy, like biography, has to be written backwards. These ‘writers’ tell the story of a terrorist out of chronological order and add passages of comfortable details.

The packaging is done in such a manner that a man who killed people for a living suddenly emerges as a normal person going about his life. This sort of reporting is a classic case of either/or where one chooses between two aspects of a journey and goes for what suits him.

The eulogies written mostly for foreign press fulfil two barely inextricable purposes: to argue for a killer and to satisfy a writer’s urge for self-expression. This form of writing goes beyond the story; it’s more like an unveiling of the impulses of the writer and its first casualty is truth and stories of people who were killed.

The most striking feature of this phenomenon is the hypocrisy exercised by Western media through the decades. I was preparing for UPSC exams when Osama bin Laden was killed by American forces in 2011. I clearly remember the ‘red X’ cover of TIME Magazine for the month of May that year. With that cover, TIME went with the concept of the ‘red X’ which was used three other times by the magazine.

The first was for Adolf Hitler, second for Saddam Hussein and the third for Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi. For the magazine, the X symbolised the end of a long struggle against a formidable enemy. TIME’s ‘red X’ on Osama was the culmination of a decade of hunting for the man behind the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Two years prior to the ‘red X’ in 2011 TIME Magazine did a story on the death of LTTE chief Prabhakaran titled Prabhakaran: The Life and Death of a Tiger. The choice between our terrorist and their rebel is very clear for Western media. The New York Times carried the title ‘Justice has been done’ on its front page when Osama bin Laden was killed.

Also read: Pakistan using Covid window for cross-border militancy in Kashmir, weaponising social media

The western prism

When it comes to East, the West is guilty of failure to reconcile two truths: first, the use of terror upon unarmed civilians to further political ends of all forms is pure terrorism and second, clever writing cannot wash away blood stains.

This reconciliation can be done if West accepts that all civilisations share the same value for human lives. The terror declinists have absorbed this fascination with portraying terrorists as teachers, if mostly in unconscious ways.

First, there’s insistence on seeing only what one wants to see. This is a self-evident phenomenon in these eulogies. The simpler, saner idea that every man who shoots a young girl in her face is a terrorist gets dismissed as intellectually disreputable. The imprint of eulogy writer is left in such a manner that everyone else is forced to question their own learning. A big wheel must be turning in the night sky of history, and only the author of that piece managed to notice it.

Sandeep Chaudhary is SSP Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir. Views are personal.

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  1. Glorifying the acts of brutalities by these killers are Indian journalists feeding the western media. They keep their personal safety as basic while writing praises about these radicalized terrorists. Thanks Sandeep for brilliant piece.

  2. It’s not about the Kashmir issue. It’s about the western perspective. They decide what’s the truth and go about propagating it but do not ever want to know our truth. This article has brought out this double standards of the western journalism.

  3. A very well written and insightful article. But I beg to differ with your views.

    The bias you’re referring to, has been misunderstood. When a newspaper in the US reports on terrrorism that directly affects them, they take sides, which is natural. And when they report on terrorism elsewhere, they report it in a neutral way. If you call this unfair, the press in every country is guilty of it.

    When Nawab Bugti was killed in Balochistan, the Indian press referred to him as an Oxford-educated King. I don’t know about the Pakistani press, but the establishment there definitely considered him to be a terrorist. The global papers would also have referred to him the way our press did. Besides, terrorists are humans too. They were not born that way. Circumstances contributed to their taking a wrong, violent path, and everyone in the world is interested in that story – why.. how.. when?! So naturally, a good article will not only report about the criminal, but also about his background, and what made him so.

    Since we’re on the topic, I wonder if you wonder how this will all end. Will killing end the killing?! And why are pellets still hitting peoples faces?! Isn’t it our responsibility to ensaure this does not happen?! Do those blind with rage – like so many of us, so many times – deserve to be blinded for life?!

  4. After 70 years India is still fighting & Killing Kashmiris in their own land after accepting in United Nations in 1948 that Kashmir is a disputed territory .

    You want Western world to believe that this is not freedom struggle but rather terrorism ??

    Not a single Kashmiri mourns when Indian soldiers are killed in Kashmir…….Is IT still not clear that this is a failed strategy that India is pursuing !!!!

  5. Good to know that a police officer is also putting his view on this site and not only through official press releases. I hope that I would not be jailed or intimidated by you and your forces for replying to you in comment.
    You gave the example of two incidents where militants killed Civilians (Informers as per militants) and by this they became terrorists and should be hated and condemned. Kindly enlight people how many innocent Civilians were killed by your forces in the same area during those two years? Won’t they make u to fall in that category also? Do you remember how you killed five teenagers at Ganowpora Balpora Shopian who were just offering funeral prayers to a militant? Was it a crime to offer funeral prayers? They too were aspiring to crack civil services but you lust for power and control snatched their lives. Kindly introspect. Militants are created by you and then killed by you. In this process, numerous Civilian are being sandwiched. Teenager Zubair Ahmad Turrey of Shopian was forced to take arms after police reportedly booked him under false cases. Court quashed his detentions many times but each time police framed him under another charge without even letting him step out of prison. He was compelled to join militant ranks, later on killed those who were allegedly working as police informers, then you killed him and his supporters. And the story is almost same for every militant. Let people live in peace please.

    • Kindly keep quiet your hands are filled with blood when you murdered , raped and threw kashmiri pandits out of valley is reply

    • Agreed. West never humanizes the oppressed ones. Those same newspapers wrote against the genocide by the PAK army. Independent journals of India and the west speaks against the authoritarian subjugation of the oppressed. They speak against white extremism, Muslim extremism, and Hindu extremism.
      I am not saying the militant attacks are justified because of Indian authoritarian rules. I am merely explaining why Western media (independent newspapers in particular) humanizes them because unlike us Indians, they are capable of seeing the unbiased truth.
      And as of Kashmir belongs to whom, please take the effort of exploring (without bias) from a humanitarian perspective. Try Wikipedia at least and read the chronology how Pakistani politics, Indian politics, and Kashmiri politics ruined a beautiful state.

  6. Most of the journalist who glorify the Asian sub continent terrorists and their idiology are Indians or Indian originated . If the report prepared by western journalist inputs are from
    Indian embedded journos most of them are urban naxal or left liberals.

  7. no one can compare Osama with Kashmiri rebels , they are Kashmiris fighting for their rights and heinous crimes and harassments of indian army on them. Abducting young boys , girls and torturing ,raping them and if needed falsely attributing them as terrorists .. this is what indian army and politicians are known to be. We Indians, non-Kashmiris should start thinking on this side as well. Why a simple school teacher or a student takes up a gun .. same is for our naxals.

  8. Kudos to Sandeep for showing a mirror, to Journalists with a heart for terrorist fables. A killing as barbaric as slitting throat or shooting in the face can not be negotiated. Am sure with the gut of officers like Sandeep we may even have solutions that could end the cat and mouse going in Kashmir for long, in a short span. But we listened to only KPS Gill?

  9. It takes heart to Print something like this when you are probably getting a lot more money to Malign the country and its armed forces in any way possible basically to demotivate the countrymen by putting up question marks on something they intrinsically believe are working for their welfare… ……..
    Sacrifices given by Civilians and Armed Forces be damned…

  10. There is very Thin line between Liberalism and Hypocrisy Many left (unfortunately popular) individuals cross that line all over the world .

  11. Very aptly pit in words. And our secular gangs in collaboration with western media, is perfectly doing what these terrorists need demonizing India.” Why we Indians hate India’
    We should think and brood over

  12. Hypocrisy of the Western media eulogizing Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Osama under red X cover of Time magazine whereas eulogizing the Kashmir valley terrorists as school teacher, maths teacher , professor or the like speaks of their Double Standard and Yellow journalism. Western superiority in the world has been exposed to the core as one of nought when compared to Chinese standard and Covid-19 is one of the burning example. Western press raise a hell when one of their journalists is beheaded as videoed too open to the world but in case of the terrorist mujaheddin Naiku getting killed in an encounter these journalists never hesitate to color these terrorists as a naive school teacher. Shame to Western media. Thanks for highlighting the double standard of western media.

  13. This has been the hallmark of Indian journalism like Barkha, rajdeep, Karan to name a few.

    Salute to you sir for keeping us safe and thank you.

    No matter what media says, public in general is aware of these devious misconceptions and want the state to continue working toward extermination of terrorist.

    The Ghana wapsi of terrorist should be stopped , instead the moment they pick up gun that should be end of their jihadi and wahabi life.

    Thank you again.

  14. Western media suffers from Orientalism. Remember the same colonel from USA who said, “life in the orient is cheap.” They don’t really care for the victims, that is clear. What they are doing is neo-colonialism by using words which favour their view of the East.

  15. Bulls eye , our leftist media also is the same words , especially leftists & so called a Liberal media , NDTV

  16. Excellent article! Very well said, Sir! Hope the pro western/ ape the West Desis (including the so called Leftists) read this gem of an essay and correct themselves!

  17. Is providing support to freedom fighters is justify for all. ?
    “India had sympathy with the freedom fighters of East Pakistan and helped them by providing assistance / shelter in India and training including providing full support of Indian Army forces to fight & liberate from Pakistan as Bangladesh.”
    (This business of arming and training whatever you want to call them, terrorists, freedom fighters, or a militant, every country in this region has been involved with it.)

  18. Thanks, Sandeep for not only doing a good job there but writing this article as well to make the things very clear. These are terrorists who should be gunned down so that peace-loving people can lead a comfortable life there.

  19. Thank you for providing this view…for earlier writings of Print were biased …seems like in earlier writing Print does not care of killing of forces personnel and was following the usual pak ISPR indian media brigade.
    Will US call ISIS or osama as rebels ? I doubt ..

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