ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Antithesis of Democracy

A trigger-happy government will only deepen the political mess in the North East.

One might feel no malice towards a neutral Twitter follower if she/he were to wonder whether Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is India’s Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting or the chief propagandist of a state-sponsored terrorist organisation. Rathore chose to use the hashtag #ManipurRevenge to brag about the Indian Army’s strikes inside Myanmar, said to be boldly approved by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the country’s supreme symbol of authoritarian leadership who is supposed to have ordered a befitting retaliation for the 4 June ambush in Chandel District of Manipur by the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Khaplang)-led insurgents in which at least 18 Indian Army personnel lost their lives. Rathore even commended and peddled the Indian Army’s operation as a warning to Pakistan, never mind that the Myanmar government reportedly summoned the Indian ambassador to reprimand New Delhi for the military incursion.

Sections of the Indian media, especially the TV news channels, behaved less like the fourth estate and more like combatants gone wild. Despite no clinching evidence at hand, the operation “deep inside Myanmar” was reported to have been completed in 45 minutes flat. Further, there were wildly inflated figures for the number of militants killed—50 or more by the reckonings of the Union Minister of Home Affairs, a precise 38, according to one TV channel, and even a hundred according to some “sources.” Talking of embedded journalism, at least those covering the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 accompanied the US armed forces, but over here their Indian counterparts merely “reported” on the Indian Army operations on or across the border in Myanmar on the basis of what was handed to them in New Delhi! The talking heads and the anchors on the news channels celebrated the “news” rather than report it. Samuel Johnson once said that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”—one is left wondering if one might now say that it is their first sanctuary.

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