The North Eastern States of Assam and Tripura have been under a boil in recent days ever since the Citizenship Amendment Act (originally the Citizenship Amendment Bill or CAB) was passed in both houses of the Indian parliament.
The issue is extremely sensitive to the people of Assam, as their state’s GDP was once higher than the national Indian average and one of the most “richer” states during Independence and partition, is now left to being one of the poorest due to continuous and uncontrolled immigration (both Hindus and Muslims) from neighboring Bangladesh.
As such millions of Indians living in Assam have been taking to the streets, peacefully protesting against the unconstitutional and biased bill because it threatens to make the Assamese or local ethnic identification a minority, while Bengali would become the majority.
On Friday, 13th of November the BBC reported about the protest and situation, – “that two people had died in what they called “crossfire” between officers and protesters in Guwahati. It was not clear which side fired the fatal shots. Several police officers were injured, a statement added.”
Whereas the ground reality was very different and as reported by other media houses of India as well. On Thursday evening, 17 years old Sam Stafford, an aspiring musician died after being shot in the face during the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Hatigaon, Guwahati.
The incident took place in Hatigaon, in the heart of Assam’s capital city. As reported by Scroll.in, several eyewitnesses claimed the police had fired without provocation and did not even give any warning. As confirmed by other media reports about this incident, four-five police vehicles had come in and parked themselves at some distance from the approaching protesters, according to eyewitnesses who were present when Stafford was hit. “Then several men wearing helmets got down from the last vehicle, took the position and started firing without any warning.”
The security forces did not bother with tear gas or rubber bullets and used live bullets right from the start, the witnesses claimed who went on to allege that the security forces did not give any verbal warning, and it was a cold-blooded murder.
This incident was actually a day after G P Singh, Assam police’s Additional Director General (Law and Order), the “super cop” behind handling the Kashmir protests, was put in charge to handle the tensions. Unlike Kashmir, there was no stone pelting or any violence when the protestors including Sam was marching. Unfortunately, the BBC had reported that “It was crossfire and then nobody knows who shot first”!
Likewise in another incident, earlier that day, 18 years old Deepanjal Das, another deceased, was returning from work when he was shot dear at Lachit Nagar, Guwahati at around 5.30 pm. Here again, there was no stone pelting or major violence, leave alone any remote chance of protestors firing at the forces.
There are several other videos and photos that had surfaced earlier where the police and the armed forces were found assaulting women, students, and commoners who were only standing with play-cards to protest against the controversial bill. However, to curb down the truth from spreading on social media, the Indian state machinery has shut down the internet completely and media houses are being threatened.
Meanwhile, as reported by Scroll.in, G P Singh, Additional Director General (ADG) of police (Law and Order) had claimed that “If a couple of bullet injuries can bring the situation to normalcy, it is ok“.
At this hour of crisis, the only expectation from the National and International media and the press is true and honest reporting of the events and issues. In Assam, the Indian armed forces had already rammed into local media houses and were found man-handling journalists threatening not to report about the protests.
The expectation at least was that international media will report facts and figures, and some of the media was actually doing so much true reporting. However, what was done by the Renowned BBC was not only unexpected but also sad that they published reports which are not only blatant lies but extremely misleading.
Did BBC get paybacks from the Indian Government for misleading the world through fabricated stories? Has BBC, the epitome of journalism has gone so low?