Northeast Delhi Riots of 2020: Contesting and (Re)claiming the Western Media Narrative

Sumanth Inukonda


The New Delhi Riots of 2020 dominated the news cycle for days, even as U.S. President Trump visited India. This article is based on news coverage of these riots during and immediately following their occurrence between February 23 and March 10, 2020. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, this article investigates the discourse on India and its minorities that frames the understanding of these riots to argue that Western media coverage betrays biases and contradictions. This article analyzes the varied alternative narratives of these riots in the Indian media, including secular and Hindu nationalist media, to critique the Western media narrative. This article studies the narratives of the Hindu right and its grievances with Western and secularist narratives. It is found that the overt reliance of the Western media on religious identity-based aggressor/victim binary leads to the miscategorization of these riots, mischaracterizes the Indian polity, and reinforces partisan identity politics in contemporary India.


Hindu Nationalism, Hinduphobia, Indian riots, propaganda, Western media

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