Twisting and distorting facts, plain and simple, and build a narrative of their own has remained a mission Indian media has doggedly pursued in Kashmir. Throwing to winds cannons of justice and professional ethics it has always looked Kashmir from the prism of perverted logic. Blindly intoxicated as it is to camouflage ground realities and defend indefensible it has raised huge iron curtains meant to swoon Indians in ignorance and feed them on fibs and canard. And all this it does strutting 'national interests' fig-leaf.
But in tragedies like the one Kashmir was recently struck with humanness of its own lay barriers beyond which a rabid communalist and stupefying nationalist will feel ashamed in milking politics from tragedies. But then Shylocks like species would have still been weaseling in their graves. They will rest in peace now. Their legacy has been kept intact by their loyalists.
Their no-holds barred eulogy for Indian army notwithstanding, it is obligatory on any government, in light of Geneva Convention, –not to speak of a state singing 'internal part' rhetoric—to protect people and provide them help when needed. To come to the rescue of local people and respond to the natural disaster is the primary duty of the army to fulfill. Thus Indian army carrying "rescue operation' in the latest flood fury has not done any favor to us. Duty is not thanks premised that until you come groveling in gratitude it cannot be performed. You do it because you have to do it.
But whatever rescue efforts the army did were muddied because of the shameless squalid efforts from the Indian news channels that were focused more to reclaim the alienation of Kashmiris through cruel exploitation of their helplessness than to show genuine concern and sensitivity to their pathetic plight. As if there were no human life but a carcass lying under their grabbing claws and tearing jaws the hungry news hounds tried to derive maximum pleasure out of this human tragedy. Sniffing and salivating they flew to the marooned valley to weave a story of their choice around the unfolding situation. They thought Kashmiris are ninnies unable to fathom their intentions. Portraying tragedy to evoke human sympathy and immediate response is not that bad but filming helplessness as a part of a PR exercise with smudged motives is most reprehensible . Embedded in army choppers and rubber boats the contingent of reporters made it a point to extract the political price from a person looking desperately for a helping hand. A hungry haggard shriveled from many days ordeal was forced to pay the debt of saluting the army before he was delivered a food packet and a water bottle (GK, 18 Sept ). As if this sort of gratification extracted out of misery and slough was not enough, the media houses in Delhi perched atop their sadistic pleasure in showing Kashmiri youth throwing stones on Indian forces. The gall they wanted to vomit out was all streaming down the streets in Srinagar.
Indian media invariably focused on rescue efforts mounted by army to the exclusion of heroic dare-devil voluntary humanism of our youth. But as valley is beginning to pop out of the deluge and trapped people tell their tales of survival, world wakes up to know of their real saviors, their heroes, their messiahs. While news reporters from Delhi went abroad in exaggerating the valor halo of the army, it was, in fact, our brave local volunteers who swirled around in makeshift boats and rescued 90 percent people from their submerged lagoons at the risk of their lives. The innovations put in use by our local heroes like hollow drums, foam rolls, GI sheets, tyre tubes, half-cut syntax tanks and ropes for rowing trapped to safer places, in true sense, proved the Noah's Ark. While governments from Delhi to Srinagar sank in callous indifference it was concerted community efforts of opening langars, medical shops, relief and rescue measures, and that too without any communal bias, that retrieved situation from getting worse. A non–Muslim family sheltered in a local mosque and the lady in labor pang was provided all medical help to deliver a baby ' Kiran'. The Masjid committee not only bore the hospital charges but sent them home paying for plane tickets as well. Ask Ajay Kumar Shukla stranded with his family at Yatri Niwas Lal Chowk Srinagar. "Had local Muslims not provided me food", says the orthodox Hindu from outside state, "we would have died of starvation". But none from the local rescuers asked him raise his hands in salute before provided help. And they did not indulge in selective safety operation.
During the killer flood waves nearly 400 patients, attendants and resident doctors got trapped in the premier SMHS hospital as gushing water entered second floor. Dr Aadil, President Resident Doctors Association remembers the nightmare in these words: 'On Monday morning a chopper hovering over the hospital building brought some hope. But joy was short lived. It came and flew towards the backside of hospital. We came to know latter that the rescue was meant for CRPF troopers from nearby camp ( GK, 22 Sept ). In the same report another medico mentions of a boat manned by men in uniform which passes by them, assured help but didn't return. The report also describes their desperate attempts to seek the attention of the choppers hovering in the area . They pulled apart some tin sheets of the roof and waved pieces of red cloth from rooftops towards the planes but there was no response. There are other examples of selective approach that put Q marks on professionalism of forces personnel.
Despite heavy human toll and a trillion loss to economy, the valley, in particular our pride city Srinagar, will rise again from the unprecedented devastation, unfortunately for the Indian media and the drawbar, however, the Kashmir mainstream cushions which they wanted weaken are destined to stay there. The alienation will go further, with additional levers and substantive reasoning.