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Narendra Modi In Delhi -- Biased Reporting

By Mukul Dube

07 February, 2013

On 6 February 2013 there was a large demonstration outside the Shri Ram College of Commerce to protest the coming to that place of Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat. I was present and took several photographs, and of course I saw what happened before me and spoke to many who were there.

This report in the "Hindu" newspaper is one of the few truthful ones I have seen:


It gives space to allegations of police brutality and police collusion with ABVP elements. It quotes a university professor as saying, "The police were apparently particularly obnoxious, whistling at and groping the female students and beating them and the boys up sadistically with lathis in addition to water cannons."

Here are some of the other reports I have seen, with excerpts from each:


says, "In a carefully scripted speech, Modi kept the focus tightly on youth, development and growth, which clicked with the students of the city’s top commerce College", and that "no one was allowed to enter the college campus after 2.30pm though the speech was scheduled to begin at 4pm", but has not a whisper about what happened right outside the gates of the college.


in the same newspaper, says, "A group of students on Wednesday protested outside the Sri Ram College of Commerce in New Delhi for hosting Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi ... The protesters belonging to unions affiliated to Left and other political parties raised slogans against Modi and the institution for inviting him to address the students." It is silent about the actions of the police and the presence of members of Hindutva organisations.


This short report says, "A section of students protested outside Delhi University's Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi ... Some students crossed the barricade and shouted slogans against Modi outside the college." It gives no space to what the protestors actually said and it too implies that the police did nothing they should not have done.


This report says, "The Gujarat chief minister addressed a packed enclosure of students of New Delhi's Shri Ram College of Commerce, but he could well have been reaching out to a national audience given the widespread media interest in the event." After a description of what Modi was wearing, there is this apparent neutrality: "Members of the 1,000-plus audience cheered loudly, in striking contrast to scenes outside, where a crowd of students affiliated to the Left parties and the Congress protested." We have "At the college auditorium, Modi got a standing ovation, outside the venue, police lathicharged protesters and prohibitory orders were imposed." Presumably the reporter will claim to have been reporting without comment and fairly. However, while Modi's success in his speech is described, no space is given to what the protesters wanted -- and there is not a breath about the actions of the police possibly being objectionable.

Coverage in the media, as might be expected, projects Modi as a man who encourages business and praise is either direct or implied. On the other hand, phrases like "a group [or section] of students" suggest that the protesters were a minority, and their leftist sympathies are mentioned seemingly to damn them.

I choose to go by what I heard and saw. For example, I know it for a fact that Shamsul Islam, a senior teacher and a figure respected for his writing and his work in theatre, had the usual obscene taunts thrown at his religious identity by people of the Hindu Right -- under the very noses of the police, who are supposed to be neutral and to maintain peace, and who are paid for that.

[Completed at 9.30 p.m. on 7 February 2013]




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