Corporatization, politicization and trivialization of the Indian electronic media is hindering the fight against terrorism in India says Lt. General (Retd) S.S. Mehta.
Mehta was delivering the inaugural address at a national seminar on "Terrorism in South Asia: Issues and Challenges", organised by the Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Friday.
Mehta said that the on-going trend in the media for producing a "breaking news" by sensationalizing events often results in the "arrests of innocent people", which does not help in the larger fight against terror elements.
South Asia today is a critical zone in the world in the battle against terrorism, said Gen. Mehta, who is also the former deputy chief of Army staff.
He said that certain sections in the West have "wrongly promoted" the theory of "Clash of Civilizations" for rationalizing their own theory regarding the proliferation of terrorism.
An impartial understanding of the real historical background of present conflicts in the world would suggest that the East represents the "confluence of civilizations", said Gen. Mehta.
He said that contrary to what the West has projected, the dominant theme among the people of South Asia was "empathy" and that "your pain is my pain".
Mehta said that if India wished to achieve a "dominant status as a world power", it would have to "emerge as a key player in controlling the cyber space".
He pointed out that presently smaller Asian countries like "Indonesia and Sri Lanka were setting a benchmarks in the sphere of controlling cyber space".
India cannot afford to not take cognizance of this trend, he added.
Delivering the keynote address at the seminar, Air Commodore (Retd) Jasjit Singh said: "Political exploitation, alienation of the common man and the increasing divide between the privileged and underprivileged sections of society was a major factor behind the proliferation of domestic terrorism in India."
"Ninety percent domestic terrorists were in the age group between 15-24 years," he said.
Jasjit Singh said that if the battle against the terrorism has to be won, then the "alienation of these segments will have to be addressed and resolved by channelising their energies in a positive direction".
The segments will have to be prevented from getting trapped by those anti-national forces who always would try to exploit the frustration in the youth, he said.
"Islam is a religion of peace but some forces in Pakistan had deliberately distorted the concept of Jihad and were instrumental in fanning the flames of violence," he said.
He said that the trend began after the defeat of Pakistan in the Bangladesh War and was "fully exploited by the late General Ziaul Haq".
He said that the Aligarh Muslim University was a very prestigious national institution of higher learning and "could serve as a beacon of inspiration for leading the younger generation of the country".
Among those who addressed the two-day seminar Friday was Commodore (Retd) C. Uday Bhaskar.