Tamil Media Stuck On ‘Hindi Imposition’ While NIA Breakthrough With Terror Modules Takes Back Seat

by M R Subramani - Sep 25, 2019 05:28 PM +05:30 IST
Tamil Media Stuck On ‘Hindi Imposition’ While NIA Breakthrough With Terror Modules Takes Back SeatTamil media channels are lost in such debates at the expense of more pressing national security issues.
  • Soon after the blasts in Sri Lanka on 21 April this year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested several individuals for their links with the Islamic State (IS).

    One of them is Kausar Muni, picked up from Karnataka’s Ramanagara district last month. He has confessed to testing out bombs in Krishnagiri town in Tamil Nadu.

    Have you heard the Tamil electronic media have a substantial debate on such important events pertaining to national security?

Debates dominate the prime time during the evenings on Tamil electronic media. In the last two-and-a-half years, however, the electronic media in the state appears to have been taking up for debate only those issues that show the Narendra Modi government or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in poor light.

Angered over this bias, the state BJP unit, soon after the Parliament elections, had decided not to send any of its representatives for such motivated media debates. However, a couple of weeks ago the party changed its stance and began sending representatives again after a reshuffle of the state unit organisation.

But the Tamil electronic media does not appear to have mended its ways. It continues to focus disproportionately on BJP-related issues even as important events unfold in the state.

For example, when Union Home Minister Amit Shah made a statement in connection with the Hindi Diwas, the electronic media in Tamil Nadu played it up as if Shah was out to impose Hindi on the Tamil-speaking population.

Almost every electronic media outlet continued to discuss the language issue for days in prime time debates.

Most electronic media outlets in the state also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the Indian diaspora at Houston on 22 September. Little to no discussion happened on the fact that Modi spoke in several Indian languages, including Tamil, signalling that he believed in diversity.

And all the while, the Tamil electronic media continued to ignore a much more serious issue, one that has implications for national security.

Over two dozen individuals were arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for their links with the Islamic State (IS) soon after the blasts in Sri Lanka on 21 April this year. Over 250 people were killed in the blasts.

The NIA has stepped in to help the Sri Lanka government after it was found during investigations that some of those involved in the blasts had either visited India or had links here.

One of those arrested by the NIA recently is Kausar Munir, the founder of a Bangladesh-based terrorist organisation, Jamaat-Ul-Mujahideen. Munir was picked up from Karnataka’s Ramanagara district last month.

During investigations, Munir has confessed that he had stayed in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri town and carried out testing of bombs. He was taken to Krishnagiri to trace the events and get more information.

While the Tamil electronic media has been repeatedly debating Shah's Hindi Diwas statements, it has not had any time to discuss these arrests.

So far, there have rarely been debates in the Tamil electronic media on the NIA arrests or the IS links in Tamil Nadu. No media has even bothered to acknowledge or appreciate the fact that the NIA Act has been amended to probe terror attacks on Indians abroad.

The Sri Lankan blasts claimed the lives of at least eight Indians. In addition, the mastermind of the Easter blasts — Zahran Hashim — was in touch with a few from India, especially Tamil Nadu, through illegal trade and social media for over three years.

NIA investigations have revealed that these terrorist elements had plans to eliminate prominent leaders in South India and wanted to establish Islamic rule.

The probe has also led to the disclosure that similar blasts were planned from coastal regions of India, especially Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The NIA investigations have also led to the findings that some of those arrested had been influenced when they were in the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia. These elements had even conspired to perpetuate violence in the country in the name of waging a war against the Indian government.

The electronic media in Tamil Nadu unfortunately, has not closely scrutinised these developments that impact our national security. There appears to be a deeply entrenched agenda behind such an approach by the electronic media.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani

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