Sudhir Bisht accuses the CPI and CPI (M) of being choosy and selective. He says, “They shed copious tears when a journalist is killed in a state that is not ruled by them. And they choose to skip protest events when a journalist is killed in a state that is ruled by their comrades”
The fraternity of journalists once again gathered at the Press Club on Friday, the 22nd September to mourn the brutal killing of a very young TV journalist, Santanu Bhowmik. This young journalist was employed by a local TV cable network called Din Raat.
It is reported that Santanu was covering a roadblock agitation that was organized by Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) that is demanding a separate state for the indigenous tribes of Tripura. He was dragged and savagely beaten up by some criminals. His murder once again highlights the risks that the field level journalists are exposed to in carrying out their day-to-day duties.
It was raining continuously in Delhi yesterday as if the Mother Nature too was grieving the loss of a life so young. I had never heard about Santanu but I felt a deep sense of loss of hammering and grief at the passing away of a young man whose life must have been full of dreams.
Santanu must have dreamt of achieving some milestones in his career as a Journalist. He leaves behind a grieving mother and a younger sister whom he had sent to study in Gangtok. He may have dreamt about being there with his sister on her graduation day. He may have dreamt about giving a surprise gift to her mother on the day of her retirement. He may have thought of getting married and raising his own kids. But Alas! He was gone before any of his dreams were materialized. These were the thoughts that were crisscrossing my mind as I travelled in the metro to reach the Press club of India.
Upon reaching the Press club I found all the members in a very grieving mood. There were large pictures of Santanu on the conference hall. Since it was raining continuously, the condolence-cum-protest meet couldn’t be organized in the open area but the conference room was jam-packed with journalists who looked angry, worried and aggrieved.
The only media person who tried to bring in a tinge of politics was Rajdeep Sardesai
The tone of the protest meeting was set by the Press club General Secretary Vinay Kumar and President Gautam Lahiri who lamented the loss of yet another member of the press fraternity and demanded immediate arrest of the culprits. Noted journalists Nalini Singh and Alok Mehta and many other spoke about the need to organize against the rising trend of a violent attack on the journalists.
Noted television anchor Abhisaar Sharma too condemned the killing of Santanu. Among those who spoke was John Dayal who chose to keep his politics aside and condoled the death of Santanu. John Dayal had come to the meeting in his capacity as a former journalist and not as a political activist.
The only media person who tried to bring in a tinge of politics was Rajdeep Sardesai who said that the there were people who were trying to divide the journalists into patriots V/s non-patriot compartments. He called upon all the journalists to form a human chain and protest against the killings of journalists on 2nd October. Calling Mahatma Gandhi as a leader who was also a journalist, Rajdeep reminded people that those who wrote against the ruling party leaders were being ridiculed in the social media and he gave a call to ‘shame’ those who tried to divide the journalists into the ideological lines. I thought his words appeared very hollow given his own dubious track record of mindless opposition to anything that was against his own prejudiced mind.
But even Rajdeep wasn’t overly political and pulled himself back when he was about to get into his usual political sermonizing mode.
So was the Press club condolence-cum-protest meet absolutely free from political acrimony. The answer is yes and the reason is that those who had vitiated the atmosphere of the protest meeting against the killing of Gauri Lankesh were missing.
There was no D Raja of CPI and his colleague Mohammed Salim.
Also missing was Sitaram Yechuri of CPI (M).
Why were these people missing from the protest meeting against the killing of Santanu Bhowmick?
They had, after all, said at the protest meet at the killing of Gauri Lankesh that the fraternity of journalists would always find them in their midst in the hour of grief and at the time of their protest.
Was it the rain that they couldn’t attend the meet? Were they all away from Delhi on 22nd September 2017? In which case they could have sent their party colleagues to attend the protest meet!
Or is it because of the fact that it is there Red brigade that rules in Tripura that they skipped the meet?
Does the Santanu Bhowmik’s killing in the Communist-ruled state not outrage them?
As a political commentator, I don’t like people asking me why I participate in one protest event and miss out on protests against similar events.
This is because I am one single individual who has no organizational backing. I have limited resources, limited time and limited energy. I may condemn one instance of injustice and I may get some space in an esteemed website to record my protest. I may not be in a position to condemn another similar event because I may not have gathered sufficient information to form an opinion about it.
Sometimes I may have even formed an opinion but may not have succeeded in getting any space in any publication or any website of my liking.
But political parties are well-funded bodies. They have their many layers of leadership and they can send their representatives. And they have motorcars to ferry their office bearers around, even during rainy days.
I accuse the CPI and CPI (M) of being choosy and selective. They shed copious tears when a journalist is killed in a state that is not ruled by them.
And they choose to skip protest events when a journalist is killed in a state that is ruled by their comrades.
1.The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
- Pratap Bhanu Mehta, the serial quitter quits again - April 10, 2021
- Red Brigade gives Protest meet against killing of Journalist Santanu Bhowmik a miss - September 25, 2017
- Left wing politics over the dead body of Gauri Lankesh - September 8, 2017