India’s ‘Hate Muslim’ Media Factory – A Case Study of Hindi Daily ‘Dainik Jagran’


Syed Ali Mujtaba | Clarion India

THE widely read Hindi daily, Dainik Jagran, with close links with the right wing Hindutva conglomerate called “Sangh Parivar” is a hate Muslim media factory. Given to Islamophobia, the vernacular newspaper with a large circulation base in Uttar Pradesh, the communal tinderbox of the country, grabbed the god-sent that came its way in the form of the tense situation arising from the Covid-19 outbreak to push the communal agenda of its patrons.

True to its nature, the paper went on causing polarisation of the society on communal lines through its vitriolic content against Muslim community taking advantage of the tense situation prevailing in the country with the rising cases of Coronavirus.

The popular broadsheet newspaper ran as many as 171 news stories and write-ups on a religious congregation held at Tablighi Jamaat Markaz in New Delhi, which emerged as a cluster of Covid-19 cases due to the participation of foreign nationals suspected to be carrying the novel coronavirus.

Shoaib Daniyal, a well known journalist, analysed the newspaper’s reportage on Covid -19 and exposed its anti-Muslim bias graphically.

A quantitative assessment of the headlines of the 171 stories and pieces of writings in the Delhi edition of the newspaper from March 28 to April 11, shows five key words appearing and re-appearing with remarkable regularity: i) “Tablighi Jamaat’, ii) ‘Jamaat’, iii) ‘Jamaati’,  iv)‘Markaz’, v) ‘Nizamuddin.’

These five words kept appearing in the headlines with chilling regularity over a 15-day period on an average of more than 10 reminders a day.

The breakup of the 171 stories and pieces are as follows:

•  49 single-column items

•  51 double-column stories

•  19 three-column stories

•  16 four-column stories

•  8 five-column stories

•  8 six-column stories

•  5 seven-column stories

Editorial & cartoons

In the same period, the ‘Dainik Jagran’ carried as many as eight editorials on the Tablighi Jamaat topic alone, published five editorial cartoons, and two opinion pieces on the same subject. On one day, an entire page was devoted to the issue with the headline ‘Virus ki jamaat’.

The snide, incendiary tone of some of the headlines does not leave much for imagination. They are plain dog-whistles.

• Women who attended the meeting can spread the pandemic

• SIM cards purchased by Jamaat attendees in the name of Hindus

• Call for Jamaat patients to be housed in jails

• Jamaatis distributed sweets on bus

• Jamaatis demand medicines, biryani, and fruits

• Tablighi Jamaat had made Varanasi its “base camp

• Nine foreigners hiding with 11 Jamaatis in mosques

• R&AW to help in tracing Tablighis who went to Gujarat

• Pakistan too troubled by Tablighi Jamaatis

• Support for Tablighi Jamaat in JNU poster

The headlines for the Jagran editorials range from ‘Badi laparvahi (big negligence), to Gambhir laparvahi (serious negligence), to Deshghaati laparvahi (antinational negligence).

The Jagran editorial cartoons appearing on the editorial page unabashedly overlook the requirements of legitimate journalism and indulge in ideological propaganda.

The newspaper gives prominent display to the ‘Sangh Parivar’s relief efforts. There are two stories about this on one page on a single day.

Among other sangh-friendly headlines is of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad demanding restrictions on Jamaat; another is of RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya warning of a high death toll and contamination by Tablighi Jamaat attendees.

In the welter of words about the Tablighi Jamaat incident, there is nearly no effort made by Dainik Jagran that even remotely suggests that the newspaper knows anything called the other side of the story.

Even if none of Dainik Jagran‘s 171 stories and pieces fail to explain its motive, just one cartoon published on the paper’s edit page should convey whose cause the newspaper was espousing in l’affaire Tablighi.

Trivia – Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest of this influential newspaper on its 75th anniversary. The Modi government is alleged to have nominated its current editor and managing director Sanjay Gupta as director of Indian Institute of Management, Amritsar. Its former editor Narendra Mohan Gupta was a BJP MP?


(Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. Views expressed here are his personal and Clarion India does not necessarily subscribe to them.)

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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