OPINION – Francois Gautier: Western media is biased in it coverage of removal of Article 370

OPINION - Francois Gautier: Western media is biased in it coverage of removal of Article 370 1François Gautier is a journalist based in India and served as the “South Asian” correspondent for multiple reputed French-language dailies. François Gautier is married to Namrita Bindra Gautier, whose mother was a Hindu and father a Sikh. Gautier primarily resides in Auroville in India, and visits his family in Franceannually.

Interestingly, in 1982, Gautier found an article in a French newspaper that supposedly contained clichés about the Indian socio-polity. He wrote a letter to the editor suggesting corrections, wherein he was offered to write an article. He wrote several more articles for the newspaper and went on to work as a writer and photographer for other publications.

Gautier served as the South-Asia correspondent of Journal de Geneve, a Geneva-based newspaper before switching to the same post at Le Figaro in 1993. He stayed over there for about 8 years before shifting to Ouest-France and then, La Chaîne Info.

Gautier used to write a regular column for Rediff.com. He has also written columns for The New Indian Express, DNA India, Outlook India and others. He is also the editor of La Revue de l’Inde.

Why is the Western media biased while reporting on Kashmir?

My name is Francois Gautier. I’m a French journalist. I’ve been covering India and South Asia for a long time. I have covered not only India but Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh… I’ve traveled a lot all over the country.

There is a lot of negative coverage about the removal of Article 370 in Kashmir, in the valley of Kashmir, in the world of Kashmir… especially in the Western media — CNN, the BBC, the French media, La Monde, The New York Times they (are) all portraying India as the bully and the Kashmiri Muslims are people who are martyrs.

I would like to put the record straight. The first thing is that the BBC is the most negative coverage of all; that is a bit ironic, because after all, the British colonized India for three centuries, they bled India, there were famines under the British… millions of people (who) died under the British. They stole most of the artifacts of India, which today are in British museums in London, and then they’re giving, you know, lessons of morality to India. This is very ironic, I just want to say this. You know, en passant, as the French say.

‘There is a lot of negative coverage about the removal of Article 370 in Kashmir… especially in the Western media — CNN, the BBC, the French media, La Monde, The New York Times they (are) all portraying India as the bully and the Kashmiri Muslims are people who are martyrs. I would like to put the record straight’

The second thing. what’s even more ironic, is that the Kashmiri Muslims started the violence, there was no violence on the part of India. India never attacked Kashmir. It is the Muslims of Kashmir who wanted to become independent, or rather go to Pakistan who started violence — violence against the Hindus of Kashmir, what is called the Kashmiri Pandits, the Hindus of Kashmir… very peaceful people who never fired a shot, who lived, you know, in harmony with their Muslim brothers and sisters in the Valley of Kashmir. They were chased out by violence. Their leaders were killed. I was there.

I was there when this happened in the in the early 90s. The Hindu leaders of the Kashmiri pundits were killed, murdered, the women were raped, the husband was strangled with wires or hanged on trees, or burnt. And then the Kashmiri Hindus fled Kashmir. Four hundred thousand Hindus fled the Valley of Kashmir because of violence. And the armed violence was started by the Kashmiri Muslims against India, against the Indian Army. It is not that India attacked the Kashmiri Muslims, it is they (the Kashmiri Muslims) themselves who in the name of Islam started violence against India, and today they posing as martyrs!

This is so completely you know…! I mean, human-kind is so… there is so much illogicity you know, and lie and untruthfulness in humankind! How could Western journalist(s) report that the Kashmiri Muslim is suffering today when they themselves started the violence, when they themselves wanted in the name of the religion to separate from India… and Kashmir has been part of India for 10 thousands of years you know.

The French went to Corsica, nobody said anything, yet Corsica is an island Kashmir is a physical part of India, it is one of the most ancient states of India, every Yogi every sanyasi everybody’s gone to Kashmir because it’s a very sacred place for Hindus. Even today, people go to Amarnath because there is very a sacred pilgrimage there.

So it’s a totally wrong coverage, you know, and people like BBC and I’m sorry, you know, BBC… 99% of the India BBC staff today is Indian and Hindu. How can they report so wrongly? I’m shocked you know, it’s really… I’m flabbergasted, because I have seen, I have covered Kashmir, and the violence was started by the Kashmiri Muslims and today they are accusing India all the crimes!

What? the Kashmiri Muslims can come anywhere in India, and Indians can’t go to Kashmir? Is that logical? (Then) You can (also) say that Paris has got a special status… all the Parisians can go all over France, but none of the rest of France can go to Paris and start a business, buy a house? This is totally wrong! And Mr. Modi did the right thing. He set the wrong right. And the whole world is crying wolf?! What’s wrong with you guys? What’s wrong with you?!

Your thoughts, please