UNITED STATES : An Indian journalist, who testified before a US committee discussing human rights situation in Kashmir, said Pakistan-sponsored terrorism has been completely overlooked by the world press for the past 30 years, evoking a sharp reaction from a US Congresswoman who questioned her objectivity while reporting.
Following the criticism by American lawmaker Ilhan Omar, Aarti Tikoo Singh, who flew in to the US at the Congressional invitation to testify, accused her of being “unfair” and also alleged the Congress hearing was “prejudiced, biased, a setup against India and in favour of Pakistan”.
“Throughout these 30 years of conflict, Islamic jihad and terror in Kashmir perpetrated by Pakistan has been completely ignored and overlooked by the world press. There is no human rights activists and no press in the world which feels that it is their moral obligation to talk or write about the victims of Pakistani terror in Kashmir,” Singh said.
While attacking the journalist, Omar had also said that press is at its worth worst when it is a mouthpiece for a government.
“That is very unfair,” Singh told Congressman Brad Sharman, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee during a Congressional hearing on human rights in South Asia.
Omar, one of the two Muslims members in the US House of Representatives, accused Singh of representing the official side of the story and cast aspersions on her journalistic credentials and did not let her speak.
In a tutorial of sorts to Times of India journalist, Omar said that a reporter’s job is to find the objective truth about what’s happening and report it to the public.
“You have an enormous audience at The Times Of India and you have an enormous responsibility to get it right. I’m aware of how the narrative shaped by reporting can distort the truth. I’m also very aware of how it can be limited to sharing only the official side of the story. The press is at its worth worst when it is a mouthpiece for the government,” Omar said.
“You also make the incredible dubious claim that the Indian government’s crackdown in Kashmir is good for human rights. If it was good for human rights Ms Singh, it wouldn’t be happening in secret,” Omar alleged.
“The number of Kashmiri Muslims who have been killed in Kashmir is immense and they have been victimised by Pakistani terrorist state,” Singh said.