On 27 February, the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express with Ram-sevaks returning from Ayodhya was torched by a Muslim mob, resulting in the death of 59 people. Soon after, widespread riots all across Gujarat ensued for the next 3-4 days. Enough has already been spoken and written about the riots for the last 14 years. The judiciary has also passed the judgement and the key accused – for both Godhra massacre and the riots – have been sentenced. However, very few know that when Gujarat was burning, Narendra Modi had banned NDTV for 3 days in Gujarat. Do you know the reason ? It was Rajdeep Sardesai and Barkha Dutt who were openly instigating the riots even in areas which were peaceful. It was because of this reason that Gujarat government banned NDTV to ensure riots did not spread to other areas.
Three private channels were actively covering the Gujarat riots in 2002 – Zee News, Aaj Tak and NDTV. While Aaj Tak and Zee News followed the standard guidelines of reporting a riot and did not reveal which communities were effected in a particular area, Rajdeep and Barkha flouted all the rules and kept on instigating the riots by deliberately pitting the two communities against each other. PM Narendra Modi himself recalled two such incidences of shameful reporting from Barkha and Rajdeep.
In one instance, Barkha Dutt was reporting from a diamond market in Surat, which had not witnessed any riot and was peaceful. While reporting, she goes on to say that the area is dominated by a particular community and still, there is no police or security forces to protect the area. Then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi straightaway called Barkha Dutt and reprimanded her for this reporting. Modi, in his interview, went on to say he asked Barkha if she was deliberately giving the address to the violent mobs where to attack and inviting them to carry out communal violence (Shameful !!)
Narendra Modi recalled one more incident where Rajdeep and Barkha were openly instigating riots. The very same day in Anjaar, they explicitly reported that ‘Muslims have destroyed a Hanuman temple’. Did Barkha and Rajdeep realize the consequences of airing such a news explicitly when the communal violence was at its peak ? Doesn’t it clearly indicate their malicious intent to instigate riots and add fuel to the fire ? After this news was aired, Narendra Modi called them and told them that it takes seconds for you to air the news, but if something happens there, it will take hours to mobilize the security forces to that place. However, despite this, NDTV aired the news.
Narendra Modi goes on to say that enquiry revealed that there was no Hanuman temple broken as it was broadcast in the news. It was just a small statue of Hanuman Ji below a tree, and some individual had slightly damaged it. But, Rajdeep Sardesai aired the news that an established temple has been destroyed by Muslims, thereby adding fuel to fire. It is a clear established protocol since decades that in any case of riot, there must be no mention of Hindu/Muslim/Sikh/any religion/religious structure so that riots do not erupt in other parts. However, they deliberately broke all the rules. It was Rajdeep, Barkha and NDTV who played a major role in instigating the riots by adding fuel to fire.
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