Moral Policing and Media Reporting: Selective Approaches or Convenient Amnesia?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 | by

The recent crack down on the set of revelers at Padil, Mangalore by the ‘moral police’ of society can certainly be termed as ‘deplorable’. It is after all, not right, when judged according to legal standards.

The Central ministry was also quick enough to respond to the attack. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting made a swift rejoinder to the matter. “They are sick people. They should be arrested. No one has the right to define Indian culture… No one is the custodian of Indian culture,” thundered Minster in charge, Ambika Soni. Good work and prompt action, in all swiftness!!

But, dear Minister, when it comes to the acts of moral policing that takes place, on an almost daily basis, in the state of Kerala, where are you? We do not see your entourage swing into action with camera and microphone. They do not pounce on the ‘moral police’, pronounce them guilty and declare their verdict, with the same ardour present as they swooped on those from Mangalore. And above all, there seems to be an acute deficiency of your statements too! Why?

In case the Honourable Minister does not know or is not aware, here is bringing to light a selective set of cases. They have been handpicked from an immeasurable basket that contains uncountable number of tales of moral policing from Kerala: Jihadi moral policing, to be precise. Here they go:

1) Battering of 18 year old Vijith

 Crime: He happened to stare at a girl wearing a burqa.

Vijith, who had undergone a cardiac surgery was battered by 2 youths acting as moral police. The youths Ashique and Faisal beat up Vijith ruthlessly. Leave alone covering of the incident, media did not even report the matter. However, the episode was recorded on a mobile phone. It went viral via MMS, which revealed the incident to the world outside.

 2) Ostracizing of Palathody Abdul Rasheed

 Crime: He learnt and practised Kathakali.

 In Malappuram district, learning Kathakali was blasphemous, according to members of the Muslim community. The art form he learnt was dubbed ‘Hindu’. But Rasheed who continues his life undaunted believes that “Kathakali doesn’t have religion. It isn’t Hindu or Muslim or Christian.”

 3) Brutal murder of Rajilesh.

 Crime: He was in love with a Muslim girl.

 Rajilesh was murdered by Nasar, a business partner of the former in his mobile shop business. He was abducted using a ploy and taken to an isolated area, where he was murdered. The dead body was later dumped in a Railway track.

4) Muslim girls prevented from talking to youths of other religion

In a near ‘Talibanized’ Kasargode district of Kerala, thanks to the moral policing resorted to by a set of Muslims, girls of their community are issued stringent warning against exchanging any form of speech with boys of other religions.

In this connection, a Hindu youth, a student of LBS Engineering College, Kasargode was bashed up by a reckless mob for seeing off a classmate of his. The classmate happened to be a Muslim girl. The boy was abducted by a gang of 50 youths, taken to an undisclosed location and was brutally beaten up. He was left off at an unfamiliar spot, where he had to find his way home. These moral police also prevented the girl from getting into the train. She finally sought police help.

In the same district, there happens to be yet another instance of a youth abducted from the venue of the Kasargod Mahotsav, for talking to a Muslim girl. He was assaulted upon mercilessly.

 In another instance, a hapless man who happened to issue directions to a Muslim woman who sought directions to the nearby KSRTC stand was also beaten up mercilessly.

A Muslim girl, who was walking with her father, happened to come under the interrogative scan of a set of moral policing youths from her own religious community. They made stringent enquiries about who she was moving about with, to ascertain that the man was indeed her father. 

Sources have said that these moral policing groups move about on motor bikes and make frequent inspections at hospitals, restraints, bus stands and railways stations to ensure that no girls from the Muslim community talks to boys of other religions.

5) Taliban style murder of Shahid alias Bava

Crime: he was in love with a woman of dubious background

Shahid, a 26 year old youth hailing from Kodiyathur, Kozhikode district was hacked to death by a gang, alleged to have extremist connections. He was supposed to have illicit relations with a woman from his own community. Morally wrong, maybe. But is that a reason for the moral police battalion to swing into action and award death sentence? According to sources, the attack was done in sheer bestial form, with the victim grappling for life in a pool of blood and being prevented from given any kind of aid.

The instances presented are nothing but a fragment, considering the voluminous bulk that take place on an almost daily basis, which goes conveniently unreported by main stream media. There are no cameras to swoop down on the moral brigade. There are no vehement commentators analyzing the situation. There happens to be no media hawks who constitute the ‘media jury’ and pass their judgement. Why? Why does it happen to be selective when it comes to certain wings of moral policing?

And then, media lapsed into temporary amnesia or they conveniently swept under the magic carpet, a few glaring truths:

1)  Media blared that    is supposed to be a home stay. Did media state that   happens to be run illegally? 

2) Media reported that the revelers were humiliated. Did media state     has frequent visits made by revelers, who, on a regular basis cause extreme embarrassment in the neighbourhood? Did media report the acts of ‘fun’ indulged in these ‘merrymakers’, which was quite often public displays as well, causing extreme unease to those staying in the area?

3) Media reported that Guru Dutt happens to be one of the hapless victims, who bore the brunt of attack by the moral police. There appeared on the scene his mother who apparently was ‘upset’ at the way her son was handled. Did media report that she was the same lady who happened to be one among the arrested in a sensational massage parlour case, where a sex was amply provided to those who came for sensual massages?

 Media, that comes under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting seems to be selective. If moral policing is wrong, it is, under all circumstances. However, what we witness is the highlighting of moral policing as a grievous crime when it comes to be associated with a certain group alone. Whither justice?

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2 Responses to Moral Policing and Media Reporting: Selective Approaches or Convenient Amnesia?

  1. Vivek Varma

    Good. I don’t why this tv9 hype all bullshit news for TRP. No wonder this news channels are just crap.

  2. Vivek Varma

    tv9 is one crap shit. totally biased. The minister should work on Assam riots. Rather on small incidents. 

    The channels which aired the news are just making people to be even more aggressive. Making people to fight among themselves… So that they won’t comment on media. Because it is airing great news.

    Why no media never bothered to air about the article on Churches. Which was published in Outlook India??? Do they got guts to air them? NO.

    Dear Media,

    One day will come that day whole country will burn you. Just wait for that day.

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