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Three cheers for the “moral compass” (updated)

When the alleged force feeding of a fasting Muslim man by a Shiv Sena MP happened, I felt that the religious angle was a spin given to the incident, and that the media was needlessly playing it up. Media showed it as an example of communal bigotry, when it appeared a case of hubris and hooliganism.

However, there was one benefit of doubt the media and the possessors of moral compasses could be given – the victim i.e. the canteen supervisor, in his complaint, had claimed that his religious sentiments were hurt.

Apart from this complaint, there was nothing in the public domain – accounts of eyewitnesses as well as the video clip – that suggested that the incident had any deliberate communal overtone. In fact, this report suggests that Shiv Sena MPs had actually raised anti-North Indians slogans after the whole incident.

So it was only the victim’s account that somewhat justified raising the religious issue and showcasing the hooliganism as an example of communal bigotry.

Barely a couple of weeks have passed since then, and we have another victim account now. See the video below:

For those who can’t understand Hindi in the video, it’s an unidentified girl saying that she was teaching Hindi and English in a Madarsa, where people used to tease (very mild word) her with taunts such as “Hindus will burn here on earth (cremation) and then later burn in the hellfire” and that Hindus should accept Islam.

Clear case of communal bigotry, in case it’s not clear.

According to this report, the girl in the video is a 20-year-old from Meerut in Western Uttar Pradesh. She further claims that her religion was forcibly changed and she was also gang-raped.

The crime here – forced conversion and gang-rape – is much more heinous and monstrous than forced feeding and hooliganism.

However, the possessors of moral compasses want to keep religion out of this. Tweets like this and this are just a couple of samples, there are many others.

Keeping religion out of a case that involves forced religious conversion itself is a rich argument, but nonetheless, let’s go back to Shiv Sena MPs case.

Media brought in the religious angle there because victim’s complaint said so, and all of these possessors of moral compasses were supporting media’s activism then.

Now if they want religion to be kept out of this case from Meerut, it could only be due to these reasons:

  1. They think the victim has not complained about any religious discrimination.
  2. They think the victim is lying.
  3. They think that if they focus on the religious angle, “communal harmony” will be disturbed.

In the first case, it’s a willful and deliberate ignorance of facts – an example of intellectual dishonesty – something I had documented in my earlier post.

In the second case, it’s sheer hypocrisy. They scream at the loudest voices against victim blaming but practice the same when it suits them. Remember the Tarun Tejpal rape case, victim blaming was used as a tool. And I fear it might be used again in this case.

And in the third case, it’s a case of double standards. Why was this concern for “communal harmony” absent when bringing religious angle in the Shiv Sena hooliganism case? Because for them, communal harmony means an (unstable) equilibrium, where Hindus are in perpetual self-hate mode and Muslims wailing in perpetual self-pity.

And these are the three directions in which their moral compasses truly point, and you will find one or all of these – dishonesty, hypocrisy, and double standards –every time the compasses are in action.

Update (6th August 2014):

As said above, I feared that victim blaming will take place in this case. And attempts at that are already underfoot. Just look at these two reports published in the same newspaper, which incidentally was the first one to highlight the incident of Shiv Sena MPs force feeding a fasting Muslim.

On a report published on August 4, 2014, the newspaper quotes a local Superintendent of Police, “the woman’s medical examination has confirmed rape and cuts were found on her abdomen. He rejected media reports that the girl’s kidney had been removed.”

Basically, state police confirmed rape, but rejected that the girl’s kidney was removed.

Now a couple of days later, the newspaper publishes a report trying to discredit the victim. The headline claims that the possibility of kidney not being removed is a “twist in tale”. The only “twist” here is that this is not a twist at all. The earlier report already cited police authorities rejecting this angle.

However, what is not in the headline but is far more important is that this second report quotes an IG, sitting in Lucknow, saying “the medical examination has not stated anything about sexual assault”. Totally in contradiction with what the local SP said in the earlier report, where medical examination confirmed rape!

Clearly, the attempt is to discredit the victim and prove that she was lying. What they couldn’t say openly earlier is now being tried through contradictory police quotes. Compass is showing them the direction.

Update (9th August 2014):

The latest reports suggest that the “communal harmony” has been restored with confusing reports that paint victim’s testimonies as contradictory. And “liberal activists” are actively pushing these reports, ignoring contradictory testimonies – those not dependent on victim’s statements, such as findings of medical report (as pointed out in the earlier update) – by the state police.

Never mind that the same activists often claim that a woman, who has survived a rape or even a sexual harassment attempt, can’t be expected to come up with consistent testimonies, for she’s just not in that right frame of mind to recall exact turn of events.

Further, most of these “reports” are being filed by those English TV news channels that didn’t care to report the allegations by the victim in the first place, even though her statement was on camera.

Also, please remember that this is the same set of media and activists who repeat lies because it suits their overall agenda e.g. a pregnant woman’s womb being ripped open during Gujarat riots, and hardened criminals being imagined as civilians in police encounters cases.

Nonetheless, for argument’s sake, even if we accept that the victim deliberately tried to give it a religious angle, my original question remains the same – why not suspect and report this possibility when a Muslim claims religious discrimination (e.g. the case of Shiv Sena MP forced feeding the caterer, where victim’s claim was treated as gospel’s truth) while pontificate that “let investigations be over” when a Hindu claims religious discrimination (e.g. this case from Meerut)?

Why be the judge and play up the religious angle in one case, while be patient for investigations (even if botched up) to be over in the other case? And that was my original question.

And the answer is the same again – for them, “communal harmony” is that state of (unstable) equilibrium, where Hindus are in the state of perpetual self-pity (for being the aggressors and oppressors) and Muslims are wailing in perpetual self-pity (for being victims of religious persecution).

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