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Pulwama headline row: TOI faces wrath of readers both online and offline, gets over 33,000 one star reviews on its app

Many readers called for boycotting the newspaper as they claim the headline and the story on the terror attack was insensitive and written the same way as Pakistani newspapers report such attacks in India. The number of bad reviews is increasing by the minute on its app and may end up hurting advertising on TOI platforms

India’s No. 1 English newspaper, The Times of India, is receiving widespread flak from its readers who claimed that its headline on the Pulwama attack and the story-writing style seemed like the headlines of Pakistani newspapers. A large section of readers found the news article very insensitive to the loss of India's paramilitary forces.

TOI’s headline on February 15, the morning after the Pulwama attack, read: Govt blames Pak after local youth rams CRPF convoy with IED-packed SUV in worst terror hit on J&K forces.


The headline was supported by a subhead: Accuses it of supporting Azhar-led JeM

Calling the terrorist, who rammed his car into a bus carrying CRPF convoy killing 40 jawans, a local youth ended up being too damaging for the newspaper.


Readers and veteran journalists claim that ‘local youth’ is the word Pakistani papers use for Kashmiri terrorists.

The readers found the headline in bad taste and thousands of them took to social media to express their anger against the newspaper.


While many declared they will uninstall TOI app, thousands gave the least rating to the app. The number of people giving one star rating to the app grew to over 33,500 at the time of writing this report. According to several Delhi-based newspaper vendors, a lot of readers are requesting to unsubscribe the paper. 

Many users wrote a negative review, venting out their anger against TOI.


Facing the readers’ anger, TOI clarified its stand on the same day through Twitter and in next day’s edition, which failed to pacify the readers and many of them threatening to unsubscribe the newspaper.

Raj Jain, the Chief Executive Officer of BCCL, the company that publishes TOI, did not respond to the queries sent by

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