By Danish Khan
How many states do we have in our country? 29 including NCR Delhi, 6 Union Territories but for our mainstream Indian media it is not the same. In our media sphere we see and read news related to almost every state but most of the times news from the North-Eastern States are not included or rather ignored in the bulletins and newspapers.
A few days ago a strong bomb blast shook the North-Eastern state. The bomb was planted on a scooter in a market place and was of high intensity. In this bomb blast five persons were killed and twenty others left injured. According to the police sources the explosion was planned by the insurgents and it could be a part of their warning to stall the Independence Day celebrations. On the same day a train accident took place nearby Murshidabad in West Bengal, in which two persons were killed and several injured.
But, the question here is that how many of us know about the bomb blast and also about the train accident. All major newspapers gave diminutive and short enough to be ignored page 10 space to the news stories. Not only the newspapers but broadcast media is not too behind in the race to ignore the news from the North-Eastern States. Had it been a blast in any metropolitan city, the result would have been different. We all have seen the coverage given to the recent Mumbai blasts. Extensive coverage was given not only by television news channel but also by all the major newspapers and newspapers of small circulation.
We all have seen what happened after the blasts of Mumbai. Innumerable Facebook pages were created in order to show the spirit and resilience of the Mumbai and several candle-marches have also been observed across the nation. It all happened because our media is potent enough to create the hype and also to set the agenda. Same actions will be exercised in any future furor. But, not in the case of North-Eastern States. Media houses will repeat the same thing in future because their target audience is different.
We all are very much aware of AFSPA (Armed Forces “Special Powers” Act) and also aware of the problems related to it in Jammu & Kashmir State. We have all seen the media coverage of the recent stone pelting incidents of the State. Though the issue is very sensitive and deserved media coverage the North-Eastern States have also been suffering from the same problem of insurgency and military rule and the coverage given to it quite invisible which needs to be improved.
Irom Sharmila Chanu from Manipur is on hunger strike and the period of her hunger strike has crossed a decade and still very few acknowledged her cause but the recent hunger strike of social activist Anna Hazare is acknowledged by almost all. The support to the campaign led by Mr. Anna Hazare was massive and the coverage by the media given to it was extraordinary.
In Delhi, students and other migrant from the North-Eastern States have been bound to live like foreigners in their own country. They still face day to day abuses and slangs and nobody cares about them. Police acts only after any abuse case is raised by them otherwise they won’t even bother to help at all.
There is a need of change in the approach of our India Media. It should cater each and every part of our nation. People of North-eastern States are citizens of India and they should be given the rights that are meant to be theirs.