April 21, 2017 | By Parmjeet Singh
Chandigarh: When one chooses to use a specific term to denote any particular phenomena, he/she normally endorses the ‘world view’ related to that phenomena presented by that term. Thus terminology gains unmatched significance in this context. In relation to media reports the terms used require specific attention because media reports tend to present a particular view-point through that terminology before readers/viewers.
An analysis of day to day reports/news related to Sikh Genocide 1984 in the Indian media reveals that the Indian media does not admit to the fact of ‘genocide’, rather it is clearly denies this fact.
In 1984 Sikhs were subjected to widespread and systematic genocidal violance though out the Indian subcontinent. Plenty of accounts and evidences related to the ‘genocidal intent’ have surfaced over past three decades that are sufficient to establish the fact of Sikh Genocide 1984.
The issue of Sikh Genocide 1984 is currently one of the heatedly discussed issues- specially in wake of the fact that Ontario’s provincial parliament has recognised the fact of Sikh Genocide 1984. Indian state is denying the fact of Sikh Genocide 1984 and making every attempt to undermine the importance of Sikh Genocide 1984 motion passed by the Ontario provincial parliament.
Indian media, aligning itself perfectly with the line of the Indian state, is also making every effort to make the denial of Sikh Genocide 1984 as loud as possible.
The Issue of Denial of Genocide:
A renowned scholar of genocide studies, Dr. Gregory H Stanton has identified ‘denial’ as eighth stage of genocide. After making a deep study of various genocides, Dr. Stanton concluded that every genocide is followed by denial- which could last for indefinite period of time. Using terms, other than the genocide, to denote to the events of a genocide is also a strategy for denial.
Denial of Sikh Genocide 1984 through terminology:
In the context of Sikh Genocide 1984 it is a well known fact that the Indian state and Indian media used the term “riot” as tool to deny the fact of Sikh Genocide 1984.
Most of the media reports even today use the term “anti-Sikh riots”, “Delhi riots”, “’84 riots”, “1984 anti-Sikh riots” to refer to the events of the Sikh Genocide 1984.
From “Anti-Sikh Riots” to “Sikh Riots” – an attempt to counter the use of term “Sikh Genocide”:
A prominent English vernacular (Hindustan Times) introduced a new term “1984 Sikh Riots” in a front page report published on April 21, 2017.
The headline of news report published from Toronto along with the photograph of Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan’s visit to Darbar Sahib in Amritsar (Punjab) reads: “Keen to work with India to get justice for ’84 riot-hit : Sajjan”. (Term “’84 riot-hit” is highlighted with the use of different colour to bring it into focus).
The news reported by Anirudh Bhattachariya introduces the term “1984 Sikh riots” to denote to the events of Sikh genocide 1984. Earlier the Indian media was using the “1984 anti-Sikh riots” but this time even “anti” is removed and it simply says “1984 Sikh riots”. The use of term “1984 Sikh Riots” is attempt is to counter the term “1984 Sikh Genocide”.
Term “riots” in quotes:
Most of the times, the media reports even quote Sikh leaders, Sikh human rights activists and lawyers as using the term “riot” for events related to Sikh Genocide 1984.
Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) has come to know that the Indian media unilaterally replaces these terms as per its policy even while using the those terms with-in the quotes.
Normally, when one quotes someone else then inverted comas are used to quote the other person. In this case exact words or terms used by the statement giver should be used. But it has come to SSN’s notice that the Indian media replaces the term “genocide” with “riots” even in quotes – which means that even when a persons uses the term “Sikh Genocide 1984”, he/she is quoted by media as using the term “1984 anti-Sikh riots”.
Thus it is clear that the Indian media does not only propagate the denial of Sikh Genocide rather then to forge denial by misquoting others who otherwise endorse the fact of Sikh Genocide 1984.