Wasim Khalid

Pushing of ‘Zakir Musa and the shift Narrative’ by Indian newspaper

Pushing of ‘Zakir Musa and the shift Narrative’ by Indian newspaper
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Ever since Zakir Musa, one of the comrades of famous rebel leader Burhan Wani, became the successor face to reckon the militant movement with, the news reports, particularly by Tribune India have been consistently pushing an agenda for the Indian state; cherry picking and choosing the facts to weave them into a story. This selective reporting throws an immense opportunity to probe and find how the narratives are diluted in Kashmir to suit the political propaganda of the state.

The broadsheet have had no time to write a single scathing piece, targeting the perpetrators of the rape and murder of a nine year old Asifa or protest march by Hindu Ekta Manch in support of rapist who had committed the rape to unleash reign of terror among the local Gujjar Muslim community but they have so much space and time to report and write about Zakir Musa and the ideology he preaches. The aura this self-claimed rebel leader has created around him, has led newspapers coming up with the so-called “shift in the Kashmir’s militancy narrative” and story after story, eulogizing the militant and the “drift” in militancy are being written across print and social media. While making a case for Musa and the “shift” in the militancy narrative, Hizb or LeT who have been involved in almost all the major attacks this year, have either been ignored completely or didn’t get proper reporting and substantial publicity. Why this has been so, needs to be asked vehemently.

In a recent story titled “Militancy sees sharp drift towards Islamism” the Tribune India instead of presenting true facts about how the self professed ISIS goons snatched slain militant Eesa’s body from the crowd, manhandled women, hurled abuses and disrespected his father and paraded the body to and fro just to take pictures and create a scene of him (Eesa) being their group member, have given a completely wrong side of the story, alleging that it were the pro-Pakistan flag bearers who desperately want to monopolise the armed rebellion in Kashmir. This implicitly shows us that the certain newspapers, have an inherent bias in them which was hell bent to project Pro-Pakistan, not the handful of Pro-ISIS men, to be struggling to find the space in the armed struggle against the Indian occupation in Kashmir. In other words, the newspaper report wanted to make the audience believe that the majority of the people there were pro ISIS, which is an absolute lie.
Last time, when a police officer was killed at Soura, the masked ISIS men claimed the responsibility upon them and declared Eesa Fazili to have carried the attack. The Fazili Family later denied these allegations.
It poses a serious question on the news coverage as to how it has been consistently diluting the facts and presenting propaganda as news. The credibility of such newspapers and their functioning while covering militancy related stories in Kashmir should be placed under a lot of scrutiny. A superficial research, poses questions that are more serious. The newspaper seems to have turned into a pamphlet of Zakir Musa. Going through multiple propaganda stories ( check the links below) following points can be drawn:
a) Almost in every story, there is an effort to project Zakir Musa to be leading the militant
Movement, when actually the fact of the matter is that he has not been found to be involved in a
Single major attack carried against governmental forces or other state agencies.
b) As ambiguous and complex terms as ‘Islamism’, ‘Global Jihad’ and the associated Organisations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS like the one term have been used to reinforce this statist narrative that the Kashmir’s resistance movement is ‘Pan-Islamic’ in nature.
C) Consistently the words ‘Drift’ and ‘Shift’ have been used to make it appear that there has been change in Nationalist narrative to the Global internationalist and Islamist narrative.
D) The pro-Pakistan and pro-Independence constituencies have been the objects of target, appearing to lose ground, with these being reduced to some vague ideas and no popular support.

Far from any drift, it seems there is actually some kind of spin in these stories where the unrelated incidents have been picked to build a case for Zakir Musa and so called the footings of Al-Qaeda into populist movement of Kashmir. If the news reports were true to the essence of journalism, they should have carried the videos of the incumbent HM leader, Riyaz Naikoo, Mahmoud Ghaznavi, Muhammad Fardeen and other militant commanders and members as well. They should have reported substantially, the killings of civilians in Shopian and how they were draped in Kashmiri and Pakistani flags. There are a number of examples to demonstrate how certain newspapers have been partial and selective in their approach, while covering the Kashmir conflict. However, from reports it only seems that such newspapers are preoccupied by and more interested in “Musa and the drift” discourse than with covering the actual conflict with a zero bias. Not anything that goes against what they want to feed in their portals, will obviously find any space and time in these newspapers.

In Eesa’s case as well, the news report deliberately chose to hide facts and instead focussed on the black IS flag, which was forcefully put on his body. Such propaganda needs to be busted out, because it is aimed to magnify the image of a handful of unknown and masked people, who are hell bent in hijacking the movement and doing all the wrongs to it. What is interesting with this rebel group, is that they tend to claim a rebel as its member only after a rebel gets killed. The condescending nature of their statements and videos is very alarming and highly patronising. Interestingly, it seems the aim of the news stories is to give credence to the Indian efforts to connect that Kashmir with global terrorism. As more and more such stories are churned out to feed the Indian propaganda, a powerful case is being built against the Kashmir struggle.

In not a single story, the coverage mentions the number of militants involved in the “drift” since the drift is in their minds only. It seems, that, such news reports want to sensationalize a thing, which in the long as well as the short run, would vindicate the statist narrative of Kashmir struggle being a the Islamist quest to wage a Global Jihad.

Here are the news links and you can yourself read and analyse to form any sort of conclusion.

Militancy sees sharp drift towards Islamism

In Eid videos, glimpse of new militant narrative

Burhan Wani’s killing dents Kashmir’s new militancy

Musa quits pro-Pak Hizb as separatists debate ideology

Unease among separatists over new militancy

Kashmiri ultras praise Taliban, rubbish Pak

In south Kashmir, youth back Musa’s Islamic ‘struggle’

Zakir replaces Burhan as face of K-insurgency

Burhan’s successor spells out ideological shift in militancy

Burhan’s successor spells out ideological shift in militancy

In ideological shift, Kashmir commander says fight ‘exclusively for Islam’

In ideological shift, Kashmir commander says fight ‘exclusively for Islam’

With Zakir in command, new ultras stick to pan-Islamic trajectory

Musa’s call redrawing militant alliances

Author is a journalist and can be reached at wazkhalid@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.

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