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63-year-old church priest marries 12-year-old girl, media calls former ‘pujari’

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In Africa’s Ghana, a 63-year-old church priest married a 12-year-old girl, but in what is an everyday practice of Indian media houses, this news was twisted, and in the headline, what should have been a Christian or a church priest, was replaced with the word ‘pujari’. This is nothing but a cheap tactic to denigrate and demonize the Hindu ‘pujari’, because it is a well-known fact that most of the readers do not read the whole news article but only the headline, based on which, they might create an opinion.

This is not the first time that such an intentional botch-up has been done by media houses in India. It is one of the most favourite practices of news outlets to wrongly label a church priest or a maulvi as a ‘pujari’ or a ‘tantrik’ whenever crimes like rape, murder, or forceful marriages, committed by priests or maulvis, have to be reported.

In the recent news from Ghana as well, it can be seen how Aaj Tak, a popular Hindi news outlet, in its tweet and news article, had mentioned ‘pujari’ instead of ‘church priest’. Another Hindi news portal, ‘Jansatta’, was seen doing the same when the news headline mentioned ‘pujari’ instead of ‘church priest’.

Soon after this news was published with the clear intention of creating a false narrative among the readers, Aaj Tak and Jansatta had to own up their ‘mistake’ after facing backlash from aware readers. While Jansatta changed the word ‘pujari’ in their headline to ‘dharmik neta’ or ‘religious leader’, Aaj Tak added a disclaimer to the news piece stating, ‘While writing this news piece, the word ‘priest’ was mistakenly translated to ‘pujari’, which has been corrected to ‘padri’ or ‘priest’.

63-year-old church priest marries 12-year-old girl, media calls former ‘pujari’ -

Disclaimer posted by Aaj Tak after facing the heat for spreading fake news

63-year-old church priest marries 12-year-old girl, media calls former ‘pujari’ -

Jansatta changed the headline after ending up in the soup

But it is noteworthy that the tweet about this news posted by Aaj Tak still mentions the word ‘pujari’.

The question which should be asked at this juncture is simply this: Why is it so important for Indian news media to whitewash the crimes of individuals from Abrahamic faiths, that they have to throw Hindus under the bus, every time, even when there is no fault of theirs? This is nothing but sheer misuse of the power of the pen the media holds, with a sinister objective to fulfill- maligning Hindus, and spreading hatred against the community, especially against Brahmins!

Sonakshi Datta
Sonakshi Datta
Journalist who wants to cover the truth which others look the other way from.

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