Saifullah, a terrorist with suspected links to the ISIS, was killed in a counter-terror operation in the outskirts of Lucknow on Wednesday. He was suspected to have played a role in an IED blast in Bhopal-Ujjain train and was reportedly planning other terror attacks at various targets.
His father Sartaj, who lives in Kanpur, was approached by the media for comments after Saifullah was killed and his identity known. An anguished Sartaj said that those who don’t heed to their parents’ advice meet such fate. He further announced that he won’t take his son’s body as a ‘traitor can’t be his son’:
From his comments, it was clear that Sartaj was not someone who suspected a foul play. In fact, he revealed that he had even beaten up Saifullah as he had strayed from the path. He did not sound like a victimised Muslim that the left-leaning media loves.
But today, The Hindu, a left-leaning newspaper with a history of twisting facts to suit an agenda, published the following news article:
The headline read “Bereaved dad wants terror charges proved”, suggesting that Sartaj was not sure that his son could be a terrorist (this despite him disowning his son earlier).
The sub-headline – ‘There was nothing in my son’s behaviour that suggested he could be a terrorist or even an outlaw,’ says Sartaj – (this despite Sartaj saying on records that he was angry with his son’s behaviour and had even beaten him up) further suggesting that Sartaj was someone who didn’t consider his son guilty, and by extension, the encounter was “suspect”.
It appeared a case of manipulation by The Hindu to suit an agenda – where every terror operation against Islamic terrorists has to be brought under the cloud of suspicion.
So much so, that they twisted the statement of a father, for whom Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had expressed gratitude and pride on behalf of the parliament and nation today.
It should be noted that the main body of the report also concedes that Sartaj was composed and has been sticking to his original stand of a ‘traitor not being his son’, but the headline tried its best to put the Lucknow counter-terror operation under the clouds of suspicion by using Sartaj’s name.
The report further quotes Saifullah’s brother Khalid, highlighting that his “composure” was not as remarkable as Sartaj’s (trying best to convey that the family didn’t trust the security agencies fully?), but as per the same report, even Khalid says that the family will not accept Saifullah’s body.
Nowhere in the report is a direct quote of Sartaj or Khalid where they are demanding that “allegations” made by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) should be “proved”. Hope The Hindu has an audio recording to back that claim? If so, one wonders why there is no direct quote in the report.
The only direct quote that is remotely similar to what The Hindu claims, is Sartaj saying that he didn’t notice any behaviour that could suggest that Saifullah was a terrorist. That may well be to explain why he didn’t alert the police earlier. No way that can be interpreted as a demand to “prove allegations”.
Despite the family not behaving or issuing statements the way The Hindu would have liked them to, the newspaper went on and published a headline that puts question marks over the Lucknow counter-terror operation. Is this a deliberate attempt to build a narrative to claim another “fake encounter”?
Nonetheless, realising that perhaps they went too far in pushing the agenda or twisting sentiments of a father, The Hindu deleted the story from their website. The same story, with an additional paragraph, is now available with a different headline. Take a look yourself: