Why the New York Times needs to get a better reporter

Vijay Dandapani’s letter to the editor

Regrettably, the coverage of events on the Indian sub-continent by your correspondent, Ms. Somini Sengupta has been lacking in both facts and objectivity. Ms. Sengupta has in the past referred to the Indian Prime Minister as the Indian head of state. The Indian constitution designates the president, currently Mr. Abdul Kalam, as the head of state. The prime minister is the head of government.

Latterly, her reporting on the earthquake that devastated Kashmir and the latest terrorist blast in New Delhi suffers from an artificial and necessarily false sense of balance between India and Pakistan. For example, today’s report refers to a “host of armed insurgencies” facing India. The reality is that other than the Islamic terrorists based in Pakistani Kashmir, none of the other alleged insurgencies has ever murdered civilians, indiscriminately, outside their immediate areas of operation. Ms. Sengupta’s report would have readers believe that anyone of a number of groups could be responsible for the latest heinous attack in Delhi. While the Indian authorities have not as yet identified the perpetrators, a Kashmiri terrorist organization has already claimed responsibility.

Vijay Dandapani

Related Link: Somini Sengupta: NYT reporter and terrorist apologist

7 thoughts on “Why the New York Times needs to get a better reporter”

  1. Ms Sengupta appears to be a in house writer who collaborates with other writers. New York times in the recent years is more about veiws rather than news, therefore non emotive factual information is usually missing.

    Regarding the attack in New Delhi any myraid of groups alone or in collaboration with other groups could have done it. MMohan who comes from a sikh tribe ritualistically is agreeable to terror tactics and it is very well known amongst groups that study terrorism that in Pakistan and inside Kashmir both Paki and Sikh terror groups are operating freely. It may be one of the reasons that Congress modified has not attacked these regions and has opened the LOC where daily assassinations, economic intimadations are going to increase. A case in mind is also Dawoo Abrahim and Govinda’s embrace photographed by a French Agency shows the deliberate incompetency of the Indian counter terror groups who have to take orders from the singh – sonia administration

    To emphasise and augment this resoning, the appointment of Sabarwal as the Chief Justice is to bring a person who wants to remove death penalty, Currently the largest crimes in India and crimes brought to India are by Sikhs, moslems and groups in the form of ngos that are sympathetic or directly fund their causes.

  2. Right on. Just a small addition. Ms. Sengupta is not just any correspondent but the ‘South Asia’ Bureau Chief of NYT. So, I belive given her post, there is little chance of any higher ups making corrections to her reports. Whatever equal-equal connotation she makes comes right out of her mouth.

  3. The reality is that other than the Islamic terrorists based in Pakistani Kashmir, none of the other alleged insurgencies has ever murdered civilians, indiscriminately, outside their immediate areas of operation.

    That statement is false. Sikh terrorists regularly massacred people in Delhi, and set off bombs in Delhi several times. \

    Vijay has some good points, but his statement is inaccurate.

  4. Is the bar higher for Somini Sengupta b/c she is of indian origin and in NYT.
    I am not a fan of her reporting by any means. NYtimes,Time,Newsweek and many more american media dont report with nuance on indian writing and for that i’ve had to rely more on indian sources.
    and the same goes for books…Indian authors writing for indian market tend to do a better job than
    nonindians and indians writing for the western market.
    So in that regards Somini Sengupta is an average american journalist covering india.

  5. Somini Sengupta’s style of reporting doesnt even belong to the “he says, she says” school. I suspect she is just one of so many self alienated people of Indian origin in the US. It is infuriating to see her apply the same double standards that were in vogue during the cold war era. People of her ilk are just fundamentalists and egotists of a different hue, so consumed by their desire to appear questioning and sceptical that it hinders their capability to see what is right in front of their noses. It doesnt matter to them that LeT/JeM has taken responsibility for countless terrorist attacks in the heart of India, what matters is keeping up a pretence of being sceptical of all claims put forward by the Indian government. One wonders if journalistic ethic stops at being sceptical of everything, and not putting in even a little effort to apply oneself to discover or verify the truth. It’s certainly not so in Ms Sengupta’s case.

    If India tomorrow declared that the Sun rose in the east, she would not hesitate to prefix that with an “allegedly” or “as claimed by the Indian government”. Perhaps it is a case of quasi racism so often displayed by people who consider themselves to be Americans.

  6. I agree with comment 4. And let’s not forget the Naxalites: what does “base of operations” mean when Naxalites proudly boast (and even Indian security agencies anxiously concede) a guerilla “belt” extending from the Nepali border through Bihar, Jharkand and Central India and well into Andhra Pradesh? The Naxalites have murdered civilians with impunity, and their base of operations is pretty damn large.

    In any case, the phrase I have a problem with is “base of operations”; why should it matter WHERE a civilian is killed, as long as it is in India? Does it make me feel any better that Indians are not safe in India if the India is Tripura and not Delhi? If it does, it shouldn’t: if it is a fundamental tenet that Agartala is just as much India as Chennai and Delhi are (it is mine) the distinction is irrelevant.

    Where I entirely agree with Vijay: the NYTimes article is dishonest because, as noted, it suggests that a number of insurgent movements might have been responsible for the Delhi blasts. They certainly COULD have, if the only relevant considerations were: (i) ability; and (ii) drive. But the NYTimes piece is blind to the crucial third piece of the puzzle: ideology. Naxal ideology is focused on creating what it terms “revolutionary conditions” in the “peasantry,” conceived as the vanguard of the proletariat (i.e. an inversion of classical Marxist theory by way of Mao)– blasts in Delhi do not serve their ideological purpose; “liquidation” of “collaborators” and “capitalist bloodsuckers” in Bastar does. The ideology of other secessionist movements like ULFA is regional– and the Kashmiri secessionist movement used to be like that once upon a time (not that this makes such movements any less murderous– there are currently 75,000 internally displaced people in Tripura; yet the media, by not focusing on these, helps do secessionists’ work by treating the North-East as removed from the rest of India); over the last few years, however, the ethnic* Kasmiri secessionist movement has increasingly merged with the wider tide of violent pan-Islamism (interestingly, and somewhat hearteningly, this “globalization” of Kashmiri relatively “local” grievance has coincided with a softening of support among the population of the Valley for their “liberators-to-be”).

    Umair Ahmed Muhajir

    * [I use “ethnic” because it is important not to miss the fact that non-ethnic Kashmiri Muslims seem to lack much enthusiasm for the secessionist movement. Some because they are Shiites; others are Gujjars and members of BC/OBC communities (such as Punjabi- or Hindko-speaking “Pahari” Muslims, who are also enrolled in the military in disproportionate numbers)].

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