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PUCL, July 2006

Role of the media

-- By Arvind Ghosh, Suresh Khairnar, June 27, 2006

[ Also see,

- Fake encounter in Nagpur? A report on the 'attack' on RSS Headquarters on June 01, 2006. Click

A report on bomb blast at the house of prominent RSS activist in Nanded, Maharashtra, May 2006. Click ]

The role of the media in the entire episode has been biased against the fact-finding committee. Even though no church body has been involved, TOI as well as Indian Express in a news item on 16-06-06 says the committee is made up of " a church body & lawyers known for defending Naxalites".

NDTV & STAR TV came to the house of one of the members of the fact-finding team without prior appointment, in the name of collecting the hard copy of the report & pressurized the member for an interview talking of deadline & urgency. They interviewed the member for one hour about the fact-finding team & its findings, saying the interview would be telecast next morning. However there has been no telecast till date. We take it as an instance of harassment by the media & apprehend possible misuse of the recording of the version of one of the members of the team.

Navbharat a Hindi newspaper published from Nagpur had initiated a campaign against the fact-finding team even before the publication of the report by demanding that a fact finding should be conducted of the fact-finding committee itself, since it comprises of doubtful elements having sympathies with terrorists.

Tarun Bharat the mouthpiece of RSS published from Nagpur has started a vilification campaign against the fact-finding committee from day one of the publication of the report throwing to the winds all ethics of journalism. The extremely filthy & inciting language used by the editor against the fact-finding team in editorials dated 17 June and 22 June speaks volumes for the standard of journalism of the mouthpiece of Hindutvadi politics in India. On 25 June an entire page has been devoted to the vilification campaign against the fact-finding team by publishing scores of fabricated letters to the editor. One "reader" Prof ASHOK KAMBLE supposedly a leader of an organization called Dalit Adim Jamat Sangharsh Sena wrote a particularly vicious letter against the team threatening to start a movement like Salwa Judum against the fact-finding team. But neither Prof Kamble nor his organization has been traced till today anywhere in spite of all the efforts by the team NUTA(Nagpur University Teachers Association) has however denied the existence of any profeesor by the name of Ashok Kamble in its faculty.

Tarun Bharat quoted R. R. PATIL saying that Police need not indulge in this kind of fake encounter & those who are accusing the police of such deeds should not talk of the security of our Nation.Tarun Bharat even wrote an editorial quoting the home minister & deputy chief Minister of Maharashtra against the committee. RR Patil is supposed to have drubbed the committee thus, which is totally false & fabricated news.

The Police similarly have been completely non-cooperative with the fact-finding team. When the fact-finding team sought an interview with SPS Yadav, commissioner of Police on 12th June he sought to know immediately through a letter to the committee 'whether the committee has been appointed by the order of any Government, any court or any constitutional authority', the source of fund for the committee, 'whether the fact finding committee has earlier investigated into any incident of terrorist activities where civilians were killed by the terrorists to help government/public or the State to counter the menace of terrorism in our country' etc & refused to grant the interview. He has been addressing the fact-finding committee as 'so-called committee' in his letters. The fact finding team later found out that all the letters of the police commissioner to the committee as well as the replies given by the committee had been leaked to the press by the police.

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014