We came to know that Times of India (TOI), the leading newspaper of India, published a story against Agniveer where it denounced Agniveer as attempting to instigate violence after Sept 24. It allegedly linked Agniveer with RSS. RSS has denied any links with Agniveer. While we appreciate the zeal of Times of India to propagate the cause of Agniveer, we are appalled by the shamelessness in which TOI has attempted to use Agniveer to spread cheap sensationalism.They have referred to the article http://agniveer.com/2029/alert-ayodhya/ but also used other articles on the site to create their masala story through selective misquoting.
You can study the TOI story at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/RSS-denies-links-to-Facebook-page-set-up-in-its-name/articleshow/6596836.cms
Here is the Agniveer stand:
1. Agniveer severely condemns TOI for trying to spread hatred on eve of the Ayodhya verdict by spreading such baseless news demeaning a well-intentioned site for no reason.
2. Readers are requested to carefully review the article themselves and state what is instigating in the article. On contrary, we believe that we are only furthering the cause of all peace-loving people, regardless of difference in ideologies.
3. The article specifically instructs to cooperate with police and not take law in own hand. TOI finds this objectionable! It misquotes alleging that Agniveer asks “people to ensure full security by alerting the police and be prepared to take on rioters.” In reality, the first part of sentence is true but “and be prepared to take on rioters.” was cooked up by TOI. Another example is when it puts quotes around word ‘prepared’ to convey as if Agniveer is asking to be prepared to become lawless!
Also it quotes Agniveer mentioning RSS and VHP to be peace-loving nationalist organizations as if it was an act of treason. While we have removed RSS and VHP references in updated article to put a stop to any future mischievous journalism, we fail to understand that if RSS and VHP were anti-national or anti-peace, why are they being permitted to operate by government along with tax exemptions on donations?
4. TOI has used readers comments on Agniveer as well as on RSS facebook site to create this news story.
5. The news admits that the site states that its purpose is to spread non-violence, tolerance and peace, but still finds it difficult to digest how a critic of Babur can appeal for peace from all communities.
6. Agniveer has made it clear innumerable times that it believes only in Vedic religion of humanity which is defined in http://agniveer.com/1634/vedic-religion/.Non-violence, Peace, Unity and Compassion across ALL human beings regardless of their birth or beliefs, form the bedrock of this Vedic Dharma that is supposed to be unaffected by Time, Situation and Geography.
7. Agniveer has thus never ever appealed for use of violence nor can it ever do so in future. However it has been severely critical of those who support use of violence to force their viewpoints. Agniveer will continue to do so.
8. If Agniveer would have hatred against any person or group of persons, then the comments on the site would have been heavily moderated or disabled. We however believe in Freedom of Speech and respect all humans regardless of whether we agree or disagree to their views. In fact we respect all life forms because the core of the Agniveer ideology derived from Vedas is that each soul is equally capable of achieving the Ishwar.
9. We raise a concern against TOI and all such newspapers who are driven by commercial motives and not genuine quest for truth. They are driven by a corporate body having sole goal of wealth maximization. Sensationalism and biased reporting may benefit them for various reasons, but for Agniveer, the sole mission is to spread the Vedic Dharma as propounded in Yoga Darshan of Patanjali.
We finally, appeal to TOI team behind this news, to kindly review http://agniveer.com/1634/vedic-religion/ as well as all other articles in Vedas category plus Introduction to Vedas in Downloads section to understand the perspective of Agniveer as well as bring transformation in their own lives.
On Sept 24 issue, we want to summarize our stand very clearly once again here:
“Regardless of whether we agree to the judgment or not and our individual viewpoints, we should all cooperate to ensure peace. We should not be instigated by any force to get violent. We should cooperate with all peaceful and security forces and not take law in our own hands. We should not judge a person by his birth, name or community but only by his or her deeds and beliefs being nationalist. We should have unity across all peace-loving forces across all communities to thwart the designs of those who may try to create violence the way they did recently in front of Jama Masjid.”
We also now state that we should be very cautious in taking media reports by profit-driven newspapers like TOI with a pinch of salt and not allow their sensationalism sway away our rationality.
The split of Muslims and Hindus visiting this site is alomost 50-50. We thus appeal to them to not take this Babri issue as a religious issue. Let we debate and discuss on various topics and assert our viewpoints. But let there never be hatred against any particular person or group of persons. Let not money-driven media houses be successful in creating unnecessary divides.
Finally, we put the same allegation on TOI that is has put on Agniveer. TOI has deliberately tried to malign both Agniveer and RSS and create panic among masses by publishing this baseless news reports by borrowing splinter comments from here and there. There are at least ten thousand blogs on this very topic on internet and thousands of groups and pages on facebook and orkut. The prominence that TOI has given to this very blog and that too on eve of a sensitive judgment hints at provocative journalism with ulterior motives. Specially when there are so many locations on internet who openly abuse and threaten and provoke.
We appeal to all people within TOI as well as with other agencies to explore the mystery behind such an instigating story that could break the delicate thread of brotherhood across communities. We recall that after the Godhra incident, these media houses, instead of condemning the terrorists, were trying to put blame on people who died by creating false stories. Their irresponsible journalism led to so much of violence. Let all of us proactively work to ensure that irresponsible journalism does not cause any violence or hatred against communities.
May truth and peace prevail!
PS: We recommend that instead of such misquoting, it should freely use the content of Vedas section of Agniveer.com for its newspapers. That may be much more useful and popular for their readers. We allow permission to TOI to use the content attributing it to Agniveer, but without selective misquoting.
WE DEMAND TIMES OF INDIA TO APOLOGIZE NOT ONLY TO AGNIVEER BUT ALL ITS READERS FOR THIS IRRESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM.
We have little hopes that they would do so considering their past track record, but if they do so, they shall only be raising their own stature.