Why some “rapes” are by “upper-caste” and others only by “men” if accused are Muslims?

8th October 2020

8th October 2020

Illustration: Courtesy Arre

A young girl from Hathras dies after a violent attack on which the jury is still out if it was a rape. A similar case occurs in another Uttar Pradesh district, Balrampur, where accused is Muslim.

Two identical cases but the first one is being portrayed in Western media as yet another example of high-handedness of “upper-caste” accused against a “dalit” woman victim. The second one in Balrampur though has received a quiet burial and is mentioned as committed by "men" and not by a Muslim. Why?

On September 14, a girl in Hathras is attacked, suffering spinal injuries. She was then admitted in Aligarh and later shifted to New Delhi where she died on September 29. It was later coloured as gang-rape though only new evidences are emerging that it could have been a set up to incite communal hatred and cause violence in the district. Everyone, from political parties to leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Derek O’Brien, Chandrashekhar Azad (Bhim Army) are under the lens of authorities now. Sordid details are emerging that allegedly Popular Front of India (PFI) received funding in tens of crores to attempt a George Floyd moment in India.

A similar rape happened in Balrampur on October 1. A dalit woman was raped by a Muslim and the women died after the incident. The woman was returning from work when she was allegedly raped by the accused.

Chances are that you would’ve heard the minutest details Hathras—and you wouldn’t have heard or read anything about the rape in Balrampur. Why this duplicity? Is the crime worth reporting only when its Dalit vs Upper Caste and not when it’s Dalit vs Muslims? Would Azad give a clarion call only if the accused are upper caste hindus and not Muslims? Would Rahul and Priyanka offer photo-ops only when it puts Hindus in poor light and not Muslims?

Same is true of Western media. When it is about covering news related to India, Western Media, has always demonstrated its unwillingness to present objective news and has often published brazenly prejudiced articles filled with half-truths and blatant lies.

For Western media, India can only be a metaphor of casteism, violence, poverty, and social discontent- to them, ground reality and facts don’t matter at all. Their selective coverage on the Uttar Pradesh rape cases is just the latest example of how misinformed, inaccurate, and biased reportage on India could be.

A recent article from Swarajyamag provides the evidence on BBC, New York Times, and CNN etc where they have tried to present India as a country where Dalits and Muslims are the victim of Hindu aggression.

Their coverage in recent rape-murder cases in UP confirms that these publications are playing soft on Muslims by not covering the violence committed by them.

Exhibit one: Headline from CNN "A second Dalit woman has died after the alleged gang rape, sparking outrage and protest across India."

Jessie Yeung, the writer of the report clearly reveals the identity and community of the four accused in Hathras case and mentions “from an upper caste community” but same Jessie Yeung identifies the Balrampur simply as “two men”.

Exhibit two: Headline from The New York Times – ‘Woman Dies in Delhi After Gang Rape, Fuelling Outrage Again in India’

The NYT coverage again identifies Hathras accused as “higher caste men” and those in Balrampur as “two men”.

BBC and Bloomsburg are no different in their coverage.

Not only do these global publications fail to identify the Balrampur accused as Muslims but also note the confidence with which they comment on the Hindu caste system which is already abolished by law in 1950.

The biased reporting by foreign media has perpetuated false perceptions about India on global platforms. The problem of the Western media is that they still view India through the prism of prejudice and bias and try to interject themselves as “decoders” between the readers and the news.

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