Read to THINK: No Freedom of Speech, Is India Deadly for raising voice?
A human life has absolutely no values in eyes of evil men, evil politics and corrupted. It is a matter of fact that we may write here, on social media, or file suit in courts and hopefully one day the evil people get punished but this is just one case. Anyone in this country who speak against a powerful person, against the system or superior are slaughtered like cattle, get lynched, shot dead or died mysteriously. It has been happening around and this problem is here to stay until or unless the people themselves learn to differentiate between right and wrong and stop following the person and group ideology which dominates their own opinion and they left with no option to be a blind follower of them and justify the wrong also.
It is not only Gauri Lankesh who lost her life for raising her voice, about 12 journalists faced the similar fate for daring to do the same while there are about 40 Journalist murdered in recent 25 years. Cases of attack and murder of journalists have increased considerably in recent times. Journalists are often targeted by the mafias or the ministers. In many states including Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra and Bihar journalist have been brutally murdered.
Journalist associations under the banner of Press Club agitated in several cities across India demanding justice for Lankesh and more security for scribes. Journalists, armed with placards and banners, raised slogans asking for political intervention and silencing of trolls on social media who rejoiced at Lankesh’s murder. Saurabh Duggal, senior vice-president of the Chandigarh press club, described the murder as “blackest day in the history of journalism.”
Data compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows that 40 Indian journalists were killed in targeted assassinations or in violence while on the job between 1992 and 2017, for confirmed motives.
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The killing of Senior journalist Gauri Lankesh has again raised many questions on the existing scenario in our country. She was shot dead by assailants in her own house. If we take a look at some recent years, journalist have been killed on various occasions. In our Constitution, journalism is regarded as ‘the fourth pillar of democracy’, however, on viewing the existing scenario it looks like that the lives of people engaged in this profession are in grave danger.
Months before her death, Gauri Lankesh, the editor of the Lankesh Patrike, an outspoken Kannada weekly, gave a prophetic interview.
“Let me assure you, they are keen to somehow shut me up too,” Lankesh said in an interview in November, 2016. She was referring to the unsafe times we were living in if we stood opposed to the ideology of the party in power. Few thought the words would ring true so quickly.
Now, let us take a look at those 12 cases where journalist have been ferociously killed :
- On 13th May, 2016, Rajdev Ranjan, who was an Indian journalist for the Hindustan Daily in Siwan, Bihar was shot dead. Rajdev Ranjan was killed from a very short distance when he was returning from his office. The case is being investigated by CBI.
- In May, 2015, Akshay Singh, a journalist working for Aaj Tak television was sent to Madhya Pradesh for coverage of Vyapam scam and was later found dead in mysterious circumstances. The cause of his death is yet to be known.
- In June, 2015 in Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh, a 40-year old journalist Sandeep Kothari was burnt alive. The burnt body of Sandeep Kothari was found dumped in a farm at Butibori area in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
- In the same year 2015, in Shahjahanpur, a town in central UP, journalist, Jagendra Singh was burnt alive. He was denounced for posting news articles on his Facebook page against UP minister Ram Murti Verma. In these posts, Singh had accused the minister of “land grab”, “sheltering criminals” and “abusing women”.
- In the year 2013, another journalist, Rajesh Verma, who was working for Network18 received a gun shot on his chest while covering a demonstration in riot affected area of Muzzafarnagar.
- A senior journalist from Andhra Pradesh newspaper in Andhra Pradesh, M.V.N Shankar was killed on 26th November 2014. He was killed for his reportage against mafia of illegally selling rationed essential items supplied through Public Distribution System in black market.
- Tarun Kumar Acharya, a stringer for Kanak TV, a local Oriya-language TV channel, and a reporter for Sambad, a local Oriya-language newspaper, was found with his throat slit and injuries to his chest in the eastern Indian state of Odisha on May 28, 2014.
- A journalist, Sai Reddy working for Hindi newspaper, Deshbandhu, was beaten and stabbed by assailants in Bijapur district located in the central state of Chhattisgarh. He sustained severe head and neck injuries, and died as he was being transported to a local hospital.
- Narendra Dabholkar, 67, a journalist and writer belonging to the state of Maharashtra was brutally murdered in front of a temple by two gunmen riding a motorcycle. Narendra Dabholkar was at the forefront of a long-running campaign to ban superstitious religious practices by getting the state of Maharashtra to pass an anti black-magic bill. He had infuriated some extremist Hindus with his campaign to outlaw the religious practices of some ascetics.
- In 2012, Rajesh Mishra, a journalist for the local Hindi weekly Media Raj, was hit on the head with an iron rod by two assailants while he was at a public tea stall in Rewa town in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The journalist died at a local hospital. His fault was that he had written articles on alleged financial irregularities in local schools.
- Jyotirmoy Dey, an Indian journalist, crime, and investigations editor for Mid Day was shot dead by motorcycle-borne sharpshooters on 11 June 2011. He was an expert on the Mumbai underworld.
- Ram Chander Chhatrapati, was an Indian journalist who was murdered in 2002. He ran a local Hindi-language evening daily Poora Sach in Sirsa, Haryana. He was the journalist who first published the anonymous letter accusing Debra Sacha Sauda leader Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of a rape, of which he would later be found guilty. On the night of October 24, two men riding a motorcycle shot Chhatrapati at point-blank range outside his residence. The journalist succumbed to his injuries four weeks later.
Not only These Incidents, Read this story covered by us earlier too:
“The problem is that politicians no longer just want bribes from business, they want to own a business. They want to own a mine, they want a mill,” said a Hindi language journalist seeking anonymity to speak freely. “Earlier, it was dangerous to write about some things, now reporting about anything can prompt a backlash.”
Reporters in conflict zones like Chattisgarh and Jharkhand are hobbled by the fear that officials in the district administration and police often have a stake in these businesses as well.
‘Government unwilling to act’
“With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media. Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals,” media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders has warned.
“If you write a story about illegal logging in Chhattisgarh, the police will beat you up no questions asked,” said a reporter who has encountered such violence, “Then they’ll call you a Maoist.”
The problem, many reporters said, was the absence of a robust press body to support journalists under threat.
“After all, who thinks about the district reporter?” said a journalist, “he or she is just hoping that the power of the press will save him.”
The greatest failure always is law and order on the ground. When police are beholden to politicians and investigations go slow or speed up according to political expediency, few have confidence that justice will be done or the truth will be known. That, in the end, is the real problem, the real crisis, our real failure.
We need to decide, whether we should throw the evil dominant opinion and learn to differentiate or wait for the time, when the day will come you need to think 100times before writing a 100words facebook status, whatsapp message, tweet or sms.
For Now, We’ll say
Rest in Peace, Freedom of Speech in India!
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