How India Today downplayed the murder of Rahul Rajput by a Muslim mob

An 18-year-old Delhi University student Rahul Rajput was brutally hacked to death in a savage attack by at least 5 assailants—Mohammad Afroz, Mohammad Raj and 3 others—for being in a love affair with a Muslim girl. The girl’s brother, one amongst the five assailants, fiercely opposed their inter-faith relationship and sought to teach a lesson to Rajput for his continuing tryst with the Muslim girl in defiance of his strong disapproval.

On Wednesday evening, Rajput, who studied as a journalism student and parallelly provided tuitions to the students, was called on Gali Nanda Road on some pretext. When he reached the spot, he was attacked by a fervid mob of 4-5 people, raining incessant blows on him and mercilessly flogging him. An injured Rajput somehow managed to escape their wrath and crawl back to his house in a mortally injured state. He was then rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to the fatal injuries in his abdomen while undergoing treatment.

Predictably, many mainstream media organisation chose to completely disregard the incident as if it never happened. Some of those who reported the incident were dishonest in divulging unabridged details of the case. One such media group was India Today, who is embroiled in a TRP scam lately and being one of the accused in the scandal involving payment of bribes to households with bar-o-meters to watch India Today channel daily, in a bid to drive up their shrinking TRPs.

India Today whitewashes the accused by refraining to disclosing their identities

India Today published a report where it said that an 18-year-old boy was beaten to death for his “friendship” with a woman. The media house euphemistically characterised a love affair between the duo as “friendship”. While this was not the only instance in the report where India Today attempted to water down the gruesome killing of a Hindu boy in love with a Muslim girl.

India Today report describes inter-faith relationship as “friendship”

In its entire report, India Today has described in excruciating detail the particulars of the incident, the charges pressed against the culprits, the deployment of the police force in the neighbourhood to simmer down the tensions, the testimony of the deceased’s uncle, the cause of the victim’s death, police statement on the incident and so on and so forth.

However, what is absent in the India Today report is any mention of an inter-religious love affair between the Hindu boy and the Muslim girl. The channel, very deceitfully, shuns any mention of a love affair and dubs it as “friendship”, so that inconvenient details such as “inter-faith love relationship” can be easily glossed over.

In addition to this, what is also conspicuous by its absence is any reference about the identities of those who presided over such a heinous crime. Though 3 of those arrested are juvenile and their identity cannot be revealed in accordance with the Indian laws, the channel did not highlight the religion espoused by the remaining two accused arrested in the case. Mohammad Afroz and Mohammad Raj were two of the 5 men who mob lynched Rajput on Nanda road but India Today refrained from mentioning their identity, which would have given away their religious affiliation.

India Today report downplayed communal angle in 2018 murder of Ankit Saxena

Earlier in 2018, the India Today report had sought to understate the horrifying killing of a Hindu boy named Ankit Saxena when his throat was slit in broad daylight by the family members of her Muslim girlfriend.

India Today report on Ankit Saxena’s gruesome murder

The headlines of the article which was published by the India Today then read: “Delhi photographer Ankit Saxena’s murder: All you need to know in 10 points” as if his profession as ‘photographer’ was a powerful determinant for the perpetrators to brutally murder him. Saxena was murdered because he was a Hindu and his Muslim girlfriend’s family relatives opposed their inter-faith relationship. However, the India Today article even downplayed the religion angle, quoting an unknown friend of slain Ankit who claimed to have said that there was no communal angle attached to his killing.

Eyewitness accounts suggested that Shehzadi’s mother wore a helmet and rode her scooter to the traffic intersection where they knew Ankit was present. She then rammed her scooter into Ankit’s vehicle so that Ankit would be forced to step out to help. As she was wearing a helmet, Ankit could not identify her and stepped out to help.

The woman then confronted Ankit and soon she was joined by her other family members. They all began to heckle and abuse Ankit blaming him that he had influenced Shehzadi to leave the house. When Ankit bent down to help his mother get up, the girl’s uncle and brother then caught him by his hair and pulled him up. At that moment, while the two of them held Ankit’s arms from behind, the girl’s father had slit his throat using his butchering knife.

Media organisations have a knack of shielding the perpetrators of minority community

It has often been observed that mainstream media organisations remain economical with the truth when the victim of a gruesome act belongs to the majority community and the perpetrator is from a minority community. Every attempt is made to suppress the religion angle, and extraneous reasons and motivations such as “friendship” are cited as causes for committing the crime.

However, this doesn’t hold when a victim is from a minority community and the aggressor from the majority community. The entire majority community is vilified and countless opinion pages find their way on such media portals holding forth on the increasing majoritarianism in the country even when the cause of the crime is established as personal enmity.

This is done with the sole aim of downplaying the religious connotation of the crimes committed by adherents of the minority communities while holding Hindus’ feet to fire in order to keep them under pressure. It is to this end that India Today’s recent report whitewashed the crimes committed by Muslim youths against a Hindu man for being in love with a Muslim girl and minimised their offences as “fight over friendship with a woman”.

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