The Lost Battle

19 02 2009

Source: Outlookindia

Why was the arrest and release on bail of The Statesman editor and publisher largely ignored by media? The governments may have electoral compulsions, but has the media totally given up the battle for free speech?
…… Rajinder Puri

Early February, The Statesman in Kolkata reproduced an article titled “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?” by Johann Hari reproduced from London’s The Independent. The article described how the hypersensitivity of religious fundamentalists was gradually curtailing free speech and rational discourse to make a mockery of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted 60 years ago. In the article there were sceptical allusions to matters of faith ignoring scientific evidence that prevailed in many religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Some Muslims in Kolkata objected to certain references to Islam in that article. They agitated outside the newspaper office for several days. The newspaper wrote that it had reproduced the article in good faith. It apologized for inadvertently hurting feelings. But the government smelling political advantage on the eve of a general election prosecuted the newspaper for spreading disaffection in violation of law. The editor and the publisher were arrested and later released on bail.

Let’s recall that only last year, Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen, who had made Kolkata her home, was forced to flee the state. It is not one’s intention here to justify the article. Possibly the criticism contained in it could have been worded differently — but that is a separate debate. Here, one would like to question the government for its over reaction and prompt arrest of the editor and publisher. By no stretch of imagination was the newspaper article as offensive as, to cite a recent example, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s remarks about Lord Ram made in the context of the Ram Setu agitation. Among other contemptuous allusions to Lord Ram that he made the CM described him as a drunkard. Predictably there were protests and rioting. One person was killed during the protest in Karnataka. Yet, no legal action was taken against the CM.

Then there was the violence unleashed by Maharashtra’s Raj Thackeray against North Indians working in Mumbai. Thackeray objected to people he described as outsiders speaking or putting up signboards in languages other than Marathi. He objected to so-called outsiders seeking employment in Mumbai. He made contemptuous remarks against people from Bihar and provoked a counter agitation in that state. Yet Raj Thackeray walks free. Was he not spreading disaffection among people apart from committing and instigating other crimes such as intimidation and violence against them? You may argue that at least in Thackeray’s case, as in the Statesman case, some police and legal action was undertaken. You may argue that the police in the three states may have different yardsticks. But the basic point is not only one of free speech but of the different yardsticks applied to political leaders and ordinary citizens. The Statesman offered regrets for the article even if arguably that was not warranted. Raj Thackeray remained defiant to the end.

Innumerable cases can be summoned of politicians brazenly violating laws and remaining unpunished. Innumerable cases can be summoned of ordinary citizens being harassed though innocent, or being punished for perceived minor technical offences. The system of justice in India is pure garbage. The tragedy is that even media remains a mute witness to the rape of justice.





Left wing Sepearatism, Terrorism : Watch

7 08 2008
Maoists blow up block office in Jharkhand
Press Trust of India, India – 41 minutes ago
Garwah (Jharkhand), Aug 7 (PTI) Maoists blew up the block office building at Dandai in Jharkhand’s Garwah district, police said today.

Maoists kill four in Chhattisgarh
Thaindian.com, Thailand – 23 hours ago
Raipur, Aug 6 (IANS) Maoist rebels killed four people in two separate attacks in Chhattisgarh, police said Wednesday. Insurgents killed two people in

Nandigram: CPM blames Trinamool-Maoist for fresh trouble
Zee News, India – 12 hours ago
Accusing Trinamool Congress and Maoists of launching attacks against CPI-M leaders at Nandigram where anti-SEZ protesters have locked horns with Left
No need to repay Rs 1.5b loan: Maoists tell farmers
Kantipur Online, Nepal – 5 Aug 2008
Some clients who used to pay interest regularly have also stopped after CPN (Maoist) became the largest party after the Constituent Assembly election.

Bike gang kills CPM leader in Nandigram
Calcutta Telegraph, India – 9 hours ago
The CPM has alleged that Niranjan’s murder was the handiwork of Maoists and the Trinamul Congress. “It is typical of Maoists to target CPM leaders and





Lerft wing Sepearatism, Terrorism : Watch

7 08 2008
Maoists blow up block office in Jharkhand
Press Trust of India, India – 41 minutes ago
Garwah (Jharkhand), Aug 7 (PTI) Maoists blew up the block office building at Dandai in Jharkhand’s Garwah district, police said today.

Maoists kill four in Chhattisgarh
Thaindian.com, Thailand – 23 hours ago
Raipur, Aug 6 (IANS) Maoist rebels killed four people in two separate attacks in Chhattisgarh, police said Wednesday. Insurgents killed two people in

Nandigram: CPM blames Trinamool-Maoist for fresh trouble
Zee News, India – 12 hours ago
Accusing Trinamool Congress and Maoists of launching attacks against CPI-M leaders at Nandigram where anti-SEZ protesters have locked horns with Left
No need to repay Rs 1.5b loan: Maoists tell farmers
Kantipur Online, Nepal – 5 Aug 2008
Some clients who used to pay interest regularly have also stopped after CPN (Maoist) became the largest party after the Constituent Assembly election.

Bike gang kills CPM leader in Nandigram
Calcutta Telegraph, India – 9 hours ago
The CPM has alleged that Niranjan’s murder was the handiwork of Maoists and the Trinamul Congress. “It is typical of Maoists to target CPM leaders and





Media says CPM fails to understand Muslims: Well well

22 11 2007

Yes you heard it right understand and understand and CPM thats wonderful well do we call it oxymoron or somethingelse.

CPM fails to understand Bengal, Muslims (IBNLIVE.COM)

A city infamous for bandhs and strikes, Kolkata suffered another jolt to its reputation. But has Bengal’s image taken a beating because of the protests in Kolkata? And do the protests in Kolkata reflect Muslim anger against the CPM?
CNN-IBN’s Senior Editor Sagarika Ghose asked this on Face The Nation to a panel comprising Kolkata Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, Shahanshah Jehangir, president of the Indian Union Muslim League in West Bengal, filmmaker Goutam Ghose and senior journalist Swapan Dasgupta.
The CPM-led Left Front government first bungled in Nandigram, then it botched up the investigation into graphics designer Rizwanur Rehman’s murder and on Wednesday it failed to foresee the violence in Kolkata.
Why has the Left Front government failed to read the people’s mood so many times?
Mayor Bhattacharyya denied that the government has lost touch with the people and blamed Opposition parties for the violence.

READ ON this interesting story from CNN IBN

And please dont forget to watch them on IBNLIVE.com