Kashmir was not reported fairly by Indian media in the ’90s, says Varadarajan

SRINAGAR: Former editor of The Hindu newspaper Siddharth Varadarajan said on Sunday that Indian media did not report the Kashmir armed struggle during its peak in a fair manner.
“From 1987 to early 2000, Kashmir was either underreported or unreported or not followed by the Indian media,” he said.
“It is not a proud moment for the Indian nation the way Indian media reported Kashmir. I am also ashamed of incidents like Pathribal fake encounter in which civilians were planted as militants. Indian nationalism would have been stronger had the media reported it fairly and had the Indian state punished the culprits,” Varadarajan said.
He was speaking at the second day of the two-day “media summit” organised by NGO Lehar at the SKICC.
Senior Indian journalists Kuldeep Nayar, Rahul Jalali, Saeed Naqvi, Shahid Siddiqui, Rana Ayyub, Madhu Kishwar, KG Suresh, Nikhil Wagle, Saba Naqvi and Deepika Rajawat participated.
The purpose of the event, said its organiser Bashir Assad, was to “revisit the India media reporting on Kashmir”.
During the summit, many of these journalist were interrupted by the predominantly student audience whenever they made remarks that went against the grain of the popular anti-India sentiment.
Commenting on the nature of discussions in the summit, KG Suresh, senior consulting editor at Doordarshah, said he felt that it was a “discussion between India and Pakistan”.
“I was disturbed because I did not listen to what I had been invited here for. I did not feel it was a media summit,” Suresh said.
Investigative journalist Ranna Ayyub differed with some his fellow countrymen, saying it is unfair to compare Kashmir with the rest of the Indian states. Kashmir, Rana said, is a conflict zone and the loss suffered by Kashmir cannot be compared with other states.
In her remarks, Indian academic Madhu Kishwar, who was repeatedly interrupted by the audience, said, “It is only the Indian media that allows Kashmiri ‘azadi walas’ to spew venom against India.”
“Tell me a single country in the world which allows venom against its own country. I too have abused India nationalism the way you do. Abuse India only to the level it deserves,” Madhu said.