Why terrorists are called “militants” in India

Owing to the Panthic Codes

It is not uncommon for the Indian media to call the terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir, or Assam or elsewhere “militants”. In India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad: The covert war in Kashmir, 1947-2004, Praveen Swami tells us why:

Indian journalists who reported on the struggle for the creation of a separate Sikh state, Khalistan, had traditionally used the terms “extremists” or “terrorists” to describe the character of the groups engaged in this enterprise. Khalistan groups subsequently imposed a set of codes on civil society in general, and on the media in particular, which among other things deemed the use of these terms impermissible. Known as the Panthic Codes, these rules of reportage were imposed upon the media at gunpoint. The term “militant”, now widely used in the Indian press to describe armed opponents of the State, was the product of this coercion. As a journalist who worked through that period, and because the term “militant” conflates non-violent political radicalism with specific forms of armed activity, I find its use unacceptable. [India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad]

2 thoughts on “Why terrorists are called “militants” in India”

  1. Plainspeak: media cowardice.
    “Fearless and independent” behaviour is seen only when it comes to being seditious.

  2. I remember very well when the terrorists imposed this code upon the media. But those terrorists that did the imposition are now gone and their movement dead. What’s stopping the now much bigger, normally militant, strident and raucous Indian media from calling a spade a spade?

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