Since Saturday morning, several news reports are going viral on the Internet. The headlines of these articles, which are from the well respected media houses of the country such as ANI, The Hindu, India Today, News 18, and the Times of India, suggest that Haryana’s CM Manohar Lal Khattar has given a statement about bringing girls from Kashmir as wives, as now the special status of the state is gone.
“Now we can bring Kashmiri girls: ML Khattar,” for instance was the headline of an article by ANI. Similarly the News 18 article read, “Now We Can Bring Kashmiri Girls for Marriage’: Haryana CM Khattar’s Comment at Beti Bachao Event Leads To Controversy.”
Naturally, by reading these headlines one would get an impression that Manohar Lal Khattar has made some perverse comments in reference to Kashmiri girls. And that’s exactly what happened.
The opponents of Manohar Lal Khattar and his party, the BJP, did not waste much time to capitalise on the news reports. Without naming Khattar, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in a tweet said, “We, and more so people holding high public office, must restrain ourselves from making insensitive comments about the beloved people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Former Congress President, Rahul Gandhi also launched a ferocious attack on the Haryana CM. “Haryana CM, Khattar’s comment on Kashmiri women is despicable and shows what years of RSS training does to the mind of a weak, insecure and pathetic man. Women are not assets to be owned by men,” Gandhi said on a tweet.
We,and more so people holding high public office, must restrain ourselves from making insensitive comments about the beloved people of Jammu and Kashmir. These are hurtful, not only for J&K, but the entire nation
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) August 10, 2019
Haryana CM, Khattar's comment on Kashmiri women is despicable and shows what years of RSS training does to the mind of a weak, insecure and pathetic man. Women are not assets to be owned by men. https://t.co/G0QM1LMuM9
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 10, 2019
However, neither of them seem to have actually read the articles, based upon which they were levelling the allegations. Instead they perhaps made up their minds by just reading the headlines. Had they actually read the articles, they would have known that Manohar Lal Khattar said nothing about bringing girls from Kashmir.
Speaking at an event on Government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao,’ Manohar Lal Khattar was discussing the issue of uneven male and female sex ratio in Haryana. He said that people used to call Haryana a state of Daughter killers, but now with Government’s efforts, the number of girls in the state is growing and the ratio is on its way to become balanced. During this, he also said that some used say that they would bring brides for their son from Bihar, some are now saying that they will bring brides from Kashmir, but he asserted that those are all jokes.
“There can be problems if the number of girls are lesser than boys. Our (O P) Dhankarji had said that they (brides) will have to be brought from Bihar. Now some people say, Kashmir is open, they (brides) will be brought from there. But jokes apart, the question is if (sex) ratio is right, then there will be a right balance in society,” Khattar said at an event at Fatehabad on August 9.
While the political leaders like Mamata Banerjee or Rahul Gandhi should’ve actually read the articles properly before making comments on a state’s Chief Minister. Amid while it could also be argued that Khattar should’ve avoided making any of comments on Kashmir at a time when the state is going through a very sensitive state. The biggest villain of the episode, has to be the media who in attempts to sensationalism an otherwise regular story on a slow-news days, have away a completely misleading impression.
Posting articles with such a headline, is akin to spreading to fake news. Moreover, people expect more responsible journalism from institutions like the ANI. However once the mistake of the media was pointed out, some changed their headlines for the story and apologised for the the previous one.