Facts Vs Fiction

published on January 9, 2010

Dear Sir,

Reference the Article ” Silencing the Tribal Voices ” – (TNIE – 07 JAN)

Jyoti Punwani is at her ‘old game’ yet again in the New Year !! Peddling ‘fiction’ as ‘facts’ !! Her latest ‘fiction’ weaves around a Vinobha Bhave ‘sishya’ – Himanshu Kumar.

Punwani wrote : ” But his mentor’s teachings would not allow him to keep quiet while the adivasis were hunted out of their homes, raped and brutalised by the police in the name of fighting Maoists and paving the way for development “. Bravo !! If it was journalist ‘Yuvraj Mohite’ of the Justice Srikrishna Commission on the Mumbai riots of 1993 yesterday, it is Himanshu Kumar today !!

I wonder if Jyoti Punwani had read a ‘first hand’ investigative report by journalist Neelesh Mishra of the Hindustan Times . The daily published the Article in its edition of 15 Nov 2009, entitled :  ” In Naxal battle, latest weapon is fiction “.

The report starts with a report by a ‘ FACT FINDING TEAM ‘ led by – you guessed it – a Human Rights NGO. The report prepared by the same – Himanshu Kumar – highlights the pitiable plight of Muchaki Deva, 60, of Onderpara village was grazing cattle on the morning of September 17 when he was caught, beaten and dragged by security forces. “He was hanged upside down from a tree and a pot of hot oil was lit below and he was dropped into it,” the fact-finding report says, adding that members of the team took him to a hospital in Bhadrachalam town.

And now the ‘surprise’ !! As the H.T. report puts it: ” Where is the man who was dipped in hot oil, the reporter asks. “Even we are looking for him,” Kumar says. That is not the end of the story. Over to the H.T. report : ” In the town’s government hospital, the only place where such a burn case can be treated, medical superintendent Dr Jayaram Reddy says: “Nothing — no patient with that name has been brought to us. No patient with even 10 per cent oil burns in six months. All the other doctors in the town — seven of them — say they haven’t heard of the case either.”

Further. ” That gap is also what the National Human Rights Commission found out last year after the largest ever such investigation across 26 villages in Bastar, on the directions of the Supreme Court. The team travelled into remote areas, faced three Naxalite ambushes, held interviews away from the police, and said in its findings on 168 investigations into alleged human-rights violations by paramilitary forces and the police:

— Many of the allegations are based on hearsay.

— Many villagers listed as having been killed by state forces were actually killed by Naxalites — or were Naxalites killed by security forces.

— A few villagers listed as killed died of natural causes.

— Some other villagers who are listed by complainants among the dead were found to be alive.

Some more interesting sidelights of the Vinobha Bhave ‘sishya’ !!

“At the ashram, 15 villagers from the Munder village sit in front of Kumar on plastic chairs. “Do not go to the police. They will take your thumb impression and write anything they want,” he says, and then turning to the reporter: “Police have told these men that they will destroy their village in the next two days.”

The reporter asks the villagers for details. “Police did not make that threat,” says Moti Ram Kadti, 25, sitting a few metres away. “A man called Badru read something in the paper and got that impression.”

URL: http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Print/476551.aspx

I rest my case, dear Mr.Aditya Sinha.

Jyoti Punwani, as far as I’m concerned, doesn’t have even a fig leaf of ‘credibility’!!  JAI HO !!


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