How English Media Downplayed Suicide Of A Hindu Woman Over Her Abusive Interfaith Marriage
The English newspapers not only downplayed the case in their coverage but also skipped mentioning the identity of the woman and her husband at several places.
On Tuesday, a 35-year-old woman set herself on fire in public in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow, reportedly over harassment at the hands of her in-laws and husband.
The woman, Anjali Tiwari, who converted to Islam and renamed herself as Ayesha for marrying a Muslim man named Asif Raza about two years ago, died of the burns on Wednesday.
A video of policemen trying to save the woman from the flames and wrapping her with blankets was shared by some journalists on social media.
The incident has been covered widely by the regional Hindi newspapers of the state. Many even termed it a case of “love jihad”.
The English newspapers, on the other hand, not only downplayed the case in their coverage but also skipped mentioning the identity of the woman and her husband at several places.
Here’s a look at how the Times of India Lucknow reported it:
In its edition on 14 October, the newspaper published a report on page 3 with the headline ‘Woman sets self afire, suffers severe burns’.
The report did not mention the woman’s identity. It simply said, “…the woman identified herself as a resident of Maharajganj and said she took the drastic step due to the harassment by the family of the man she had a relationship.”
Curiously, a report on the Times’ website published on 13 October – that is, the day of the incident – does mention the woman’s identity as a Hindu.
The online report carries a quote by Maharajganj Superintendent of Police (SP) Pradeep Gupta as saying that the “woman was a hindu but after divorce she married a man from another religion in Maharajganj district".
This detail is mysteriously absent in the newspaper’s print edition.
The police on Wednesday arrested a Congress leader and son of former Rajasthan governor Sukhdev Prasad, Alok Prasad Pasi, for abetting her suicide by provoking her into taking the extreme step.
The 15 October edition of The Times of India Lucknow put the report on the front page but, again, skipped the identity of the woman and her husband.
Indian Express also reported the woman’s death with focus on the Congress leader’s arrest.
On an inside page, it however did mention the woman’s and her husband’s name.
The Lucknow edition of Hindustan Times did not cover the news of the woman’s death in its edition on 15 October. A day before, it published a report on the sixth page titled ‘Woman makes immolation bid near Vidhan Bhavan, critical’.
The report does mention the woman’s names as Anjali Tiwari and his husband’s name as Asif Raza. The same report on the newspaper’s website, with the same title, however skips mentioning the names.
Instead, it says, “A police official, privy to the investigation, said the woman had got into an interfaith relationship with a man following separation from her husband a few years ago. However, the relationship was not approved by the man’s family members, he said.”
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