The Hindu’s story titled ‘Bawariyas Never Spare Young Women’ is shockingly insensitive and casteist!

To

The Editor

The Hindu

We are shocked and horrified at the insensitive and biased report that was carried in today’s edition of The Hindu (04-08-16) titled ‘Bawariyas never spare young women‘ by Sweta Goswami. The report is an instance of criminalization of an entire community based on a case of violence. We strongly condemn the use of language in this report which evokes prejudice among readers and incites possible violence.

The story in THE HINDU can be accessed here: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/bawariyas-never-spare-young-women/article8939899.ece
The story in THE HINDU can be accessed here: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/bawariyas-never-spare-young-women/article8939899.ece

Although the accused is someone from the community, it gives the police or the newspaper no right to hold the entire community responsible for an individual act of crime. Sexual violence has been inflicted upon women for centuries by men of all communities; but here there is a an intentional attempt to reimpose the colonial narrative which has characterised the denotified tribes in the country.

To depend on a police officer’s words to brand the members of an accused’s community as “a population of criminals” or a tribe that considers “robbery, theft and dacoity (as) its traditional occupation”, “committing these crimes for centuries”, “have a record of not sparing young women” is a violation of the fundamentals of journalistic ethics and smacks of colonial mindset. Individual utterances of a police officer cannot be considered as a legitimate source for identifying the guilty. He has no constitutional authority to make this claim and no reputed newspaper would take a police officer’s word as final say. Portraying the entire Bawariya community in this light would incite violence and their targetting by people and the police.

The reporter goes on to quote a document which is more than two centuries old, the 1881 Census of India report to justify her claim that the Bawariya community is “addicted to crimes; thieving comes easily to them and their skill in tracking wild animals is notorious.” There is no understanding of the current situation they are in or the legal status they have while framing this story. Although the government of India has denotified the Criminal Tribal Act, 1871 in 1952, these tribes have been struggling for basic constitutional rights for more than sixty years. The reporter has not attempted to carry the perspective of the community and seems to have not even tried to contact anyone to get their side of the story.

It is unacceptable that The Hindu, which has more than 15 lakh readers in India, and is considered as the second largest circulated English daily (source: Adit Bureau Circulation, July- December 2015) has carried such an insensitive and prejudiced report.

We demand that The Hindu carry an unconditional apology clarifying that they made an ethical journalistic mistake in carrying this report. We demand that both the reporter and the Editor of the daily do so as soon as possible to avoid a witch hunt that the Bawariya community which The Hindu will have to answer for.

We also demand that The Hindu carries this rejoinder so as to be able to correct the prejudiced assumptions it might have developed in the readers.

Regards

Jaspal Singh Bawaria
Dakxin Chara
Bharat Vitkar
Mayank
(Jaspal is from Bawaria community, from punjab, Dakxin is from Chara community from Gujrat, Bharat is from Wadar community from Maharashtra. all three falls under DNT(Ex-criminal Tribe))

Address – House No. – 85, Block – D, Saket, New Delhi – 110017

 

 

 

  • 4thaugust1932

    Let us give a separate country to goo.gl/NFK0A

  • K SHESHU BABU

    Partisan reporting has become common in most articles. The ethics of balanced views and projecting both sides and the opinion for and against a certain proposition is not being followed. As a consequence, an entire community is castigated for the heinous crime of a person. Whole bawariya community is shown as ‘ criminals’ without verifying the facts. Similarly, encounters are reporting on the statements by police but most journalists do not care to obtain Maoists point of view. The distorted versions are published and people are led to believe the reports without knowing the other side. Journalism must be fair and truthful and balanced though individual opinion may be expressed seperately with a clarification on the subject.