Vicious propaganda against Kashmiris by some TV channels affecting peace process, says Special Representative

Special Representative says talk on some channels affects peace in Kashmir

January 10, 2018 09:52 pm | Updated January 11, 2018 12:27 pm IST - New Delhi

Dineshwar Sharma

Dineshwar Sharma

The Centre’s Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, has requested Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to convene a meeting with authorities of certain television news channels to ask them to be careful against spreading “vicious propaganda” against Kashmiris.

A senior source said on Wednesday that at least four news channels routinely aired stories exaggerating events in the Kashmir Valley, defeating the dialogue and peace process initiated by the Centre. The meeting with the channel representatives would be convened shortly, the source said.

Another official, however, said the Centre would tread cautiously on the subject as it did not want to impinge on the “freedom of the press”.

“Sometimes these channels are just making a mountain out of a molehill. Many times, the debates are vitriolic and are distant from facts on the ground. This gives fodder to secessionist forces in the Kashmir Valley to sow hatred against the government,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

Delegations’ protests

Mr. Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, was appointed Special Representative by the Centre in October 2017 for carrying forward the dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir. As reported earlier, several delegations that met Mr. Sharma complained that a few news channels were propagating a negative image of Kashmiris.

The official said they would share Mr. Sharma’s concern with the television channels, adding that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had, on several occasions, asked the Centre to address the issue of news channels going overboard when it comes to reporting events in the Valley.

Delivering the keynote address at a seminar on “Understanding Kashmir” hosted by a Delhi-based think tank, BRIEF, last July, Ms. Mufti had hit out at television anchors based in the national capital for portraying Kashmir in a bad light.

“I am sorry to say that this India that the [news] anchors are trying to project is not what India is and not the India I know. Few channels are showing Kashmiris in a bad light.”

She said when she saw the retired “beard-wallahs” from the other side [Pakistan] and “mooch-wallahs” from this side screaming at the top of their lungs on television news channels, she felt they were airing their “frustrations” about the many wars that the two countries had fought.

On stone throwing

The J&K administration have on previous occasions expressed similar concerns, and told the Centre that Delhi-based news television channels were portraying the State in a negative light.

On the issue of reports of stone throwing by students, officials posted in south Kashmir had pointed out that schoolchildren from only four or five institutions had participated in the attacks on security forces.

However, the national media had reported the incidents as if all the 50,000 school and college students were embroiled in violent acts in 2016 that erupted after Hizbul Mujahideen “commander” Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces.

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