You just sensed it was coming. As the nation was basking in the inspiring performances of its athletes at the Tokyo Olympics, you could see that this was unsettling those sections who prefer a disunited, disjointed nation in order to keep ‘majoritarian nationalism‘ in check. And what better tool to bring down happy Hindus and Dharmics, than a good old casteism story?
‘Haridwar: Casteist slurs, abuses thrown at Olympic star Vandana Katariya’s family’ blares the headline of a Times of India (TOI) article published today carrying the byline of journalist MS Nawaz.
The gist of the TOI story is that hours after the women’s hockey team lost the Olympics semi-final match yesterday, two ‘upper caste’ men celebrated the loss by bursting crackers and hurled caste abuses at Vandana’s family. Not just that, these men are also alleged to have said that hockey and all sports should ‘keep Dalits out’.
Depressing, right? What kind of brainless bigot would claim that we lost as there are ‘too many Dalit players’, when this is the best-ever performance by the women’s hockey team in the Olympics? We know how cricket-crazy fans can sometimes burn effigies of players when they lose a World Cup match; that’s just the emotional investment and expectations people have from that game. But hockey?
We decided to call up LS Butola, the SHO of Sidcul police station in Haridwar where the complaint was lodged by Vandana’s family, to find out more. He told us that the Katariyas have an old feud with a neighbor over some minor issue – something to do with a drain – and have clashed previously too. In 2018, the families had come to blows, it seems.
Yesterday’s match allegedly became a pretext for the other side to provoke the Katariya family by bursting crackers. This led to a heated exchange between the two parties, the SHO said, while adding that one person has been detained in the matter.
When asked if caste-related flare ups have occurred in the locality earlier too, the SHO said no. He told us that while Vandana’s family is from an SC community, the accused are OBCs – one of them has the surname Pal.
A Dainik Jagran report gives the names of the two accused as Ankit Pal and Sumit Chauhan. It adds that after someone burst crackers outside Vandana’s house, there was a heated exchange between them and the neighboring family. Vandana’s sister-in-law has demanded strict action against the accused else the entire family would self-immolate, the Jagran report adds.
The Jagran journalist Sunil Negi also spoke to SHO Butola, and duly reported that the two families have a long-running dispute. It is highly unlikely that this crucial fact wasn’t learnt by TOI’s MS Nawaz when he spoke to the same police officer. So did Nawaz decide to omit the personal dispute angle on purpose, as that would take attention away from the ‘caste attack’ story? If one just reads the TOI headline, they will come away with the impression that this was a caste-related attack, no questions asked. This would not be the first time that a TOI reporter is playing up the ‘caste angle’ in a story, other facts notwithstanding.
Nowadays, people have realized that if you add a caste angle to any issue, you can immediately grab attention of both media and authorities. Misuse of the SC-ST Atrocity Act to settle disputes is emerging as a pattern across the country. It is also interesting to note that while the accused in this case are OBC, they are classified as ‘upper caste’ as the complainant is an SC; but otherwise SC + OBC are ‘Bahujans’ fighting ‘upper caste’ oppression as per the left-liberal, anti-Hindu worldview!
Whether the accused in this case really did use the caste slurs and anti-Dalit diatribe they are accused of, is a matter of investigation. Clearly, even choosing to needle the hockey player’s family by bursting crackers was boorish and uncalled for.
But isn’t media supposed to weigh both sides of a story before reporting? Why didn’t any media house speak to the accused’s family to get their side of the story? This same English-language media and Hinduphobic journalists rush to airbrush incidents where Hindus are on the receiving end of Muslim aggression, branding such incidents as ‘individual crimes with no communal motive’. Refer to how FirstPost labelled the death of Dharmendra Shinde due to stone-pelting from a mosque roof at a Hindu wedding procession as a ‘freak incident’.
Our media, especially the English-language media, has become a hotbed of anti-Hindu sentiment. Nothing reported by it can be taken at face value. The secular state has also furthered the anti-Hindu agenda by creating perverse incentives for Hindus to be at each other’s throats.
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