There is a kind of gender crimes in India that the Hindi or regional media has long identified as a pattern, but the English media is simply refusing to acknowledge.
Many Muslim men fake their identity as Hindu men to trap Hindu women in love. In some cases, they circulate their sexual videos on the Internet after entering into physical relations with the women. In other cases, they kill the women when exposed.
The recent case in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district where a man named Waseem Ahmed got a fake Aadhaar card made in the name of Dinesh Rawat to cheat a Hindu woman is only the latest in a long roster of such crimes.
On the statement of the woman, the Meerut Police have arrested and booked the man for rape. Probe revealed he is already married and has two children. (Read Swarajya’s coverage of the case here).
A few days ago, the same Meerut Police cracked a murder case of a woman whose dismembered body they had found in a village a year ago. Probe revealed that the woman was a Hindu and a resident of Ludhiana. As per the police, the accused, Mohamamad Sadiq, had initially told his name to the woman and her family as Aman.
The coverage of this case reveals the difference in the treatment of such crimes by the English and Hindi publications. Even within the same media group, the headlines are starkly different.
The Times of India reports it as a regular crime even though it mentions ‘imposter‘. Its sister publication, Navbharat Times, on the other hand, reveals the religious nature of the crime in the headline by mentioning the fake Hindu-sounding name that the accused used.
The English report of India Today reports it as a crime story while the group’s Hindi publication Aaj Tak mentions the religious entrapment angle in the headline.
In its English edition, Hindustan Times covered the incident from Ludhiana based on a conversation with the woman’s family. Unlike its English report, in its Hindi report filed from Meerut, the headline prominently mentions the cheating-through-Hindu-name bit.
The difference is visible even in heavily Left-leaning NDTV. While its English publication reports it as a crime story, the Hindi version mentions the deception through name even if its skips ‘Saqib’ and ‘Aman’.
Here’s how other major Hindi dailies covered the case: Amar Ujala mentioned the name angle in the headline, so did News18 Hindi. Headlines of Zee News and Dainik Jagran mentioned ‘Love Jihad’.
The Hindi media regularly reports this set of crimes, which seem to be a frequent occurrence. If one searches with the right keywords, a number of results show up cases where Muslim men used a Hindu name to trap women in love. The reports mention this detail in the headlines.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and comprises the initial search results. It does however give a fair idea on the pattern of such a crime and how rampant it is.
The large number of such cases is perhaps the reason why the Hindi media is increasingly using the term ‘Love Jihad’. They either put the term in the headline or the first paragraph of the report as seen in some of the reports above.
The English media, on the other hand, either ignores such cases or reports them only as routine crimes.
Any casual observer of the media knows that the English media, which sets the narrative that influences policies, plays down or ignores crimes committed by the Muslim community (read some of Swarajya's reports on this here, here and here).
On the other hand, the English press actively mocks or discredits Hindu concerns of Muslim men preying on Hindu women as Hindutva conspiracy theories.
The indifference, however, is preventing a major set of gender crimes, which are religiously motivated, to enter the national discourse and subsequently, a solution.
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