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Pulwama Terrorist Attack: Why Isn’t The Media Asking The Right Questions?

The BJP government has used the Indian Army as a shield for many policy failures. It's time to question them, not supposed 'sympathisers'.

The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is dire, and politicians from across the spectrum have condemned the Pulwama attack, calling for retaliation on Thursday, February 14. But while all that is in play, what is the role of the media? To ask the right questions and hold those in power responsible for such lapses in intelligence.

The BJP government has used the Indian Army as a shield for many policy failures. The right-wing has used the Army as a cover for everything, bringing patriotism and nationalism into the debate whenever one questions the government. At a time when the nation is witnessing a catastrophic security failure — Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a bus carrying CRPF personnel which has led to the death of more than 40 jawans — media channels, especially those considered close to the regime, however, are seen asking questions not to the ones who are responsible, but to those who are easy targets.

Rahul Shivshankar of Times Now in his show tonight seeks to persecute the “anti-nationals” once again. “They justify terror, they fight for the rights of anti-India brigade & they insult India’s army. As India comes to terms with the biggest terror attack of 2019… Has the time come to strip security cover of terror ‘apologists’?” he commented.

A Twitter poll on Times Now’s official page asks, “Should terror sympathisers be banned from contesting elections?” without naming any particular individual.

On Republic TV, Arnab Goswami says, “After this attack, can India afford to entertain any pro-Pak agenda on our soil?”

Also Read: Don’t Think It Is Appropriate To Talk Politics Right Now: Priyanka Gandhi Cancels Press Meet Post Pulwama Attack

What these media channels fail to do, however, is to question the Modi government that once claimed that demonetising Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes would put an end to terrorism in the country. Besides examining false promises, several important questions need to be asked:

For example, instead of targeting Kashmiri politicians — and falsely tagging them as separatists — what needs to be reminded is that Jammu and Kashmir is under the President’s rule right now, and any mainstream Kashmir party is not at the helm of affairs in the state.

Instead of attacking the “sympathisers” one needs to ask how more than 300 kilograms of explosives made its way into the street unchecked. “What are the logistics involved in putting together 350 kgs of explosives for a single terror attack?” asks journalist Aunindyo Chakravarty.

One also needs to question the failure of intelligence agencies to foresee and stop such a major attack which would have involved extensive planning. At the same time, media channels should ask how the terrorist groups caught hold of the travel plans of a CRPF convoy. Besides, could an attack of this stature have been executed without the direct involvement of the ISI?

Bhutanese journalist Tenzing Lamsang also points out that the media channels should ask a series of important questions such as: How did this attack happen?; Why did the JeM hit now, and what are its capabilities?; What is Pakistan’s role here, after all as the JeM chief is being hosted by the country?; and questioning China’s veto against declaring the JeM head as a terrorist.

Also Read: Unlike You I’ll Wait Till Nation Can Mourn Sacrifices of Its Brave Sons: Omar Abdullah Slams Minister Jitendra Singh

Recently, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had claimed that there wasn’t any major terrorist activities in the country since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014. “This government under the leadership of PM Modi has ensured one thing that there shall not be an opportunity for terrorists to disturb the peace,” she said. Yet, here the nation stands.

Also Read: Busted: Defence Minister Says No Terrorists Attacks Since 2014. Here’s a Non-exhaustive List

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