The Long and the short of the ‘Godhra Verdict’ : ” The media has egg on its face”.

via H Balakrishnan published on February 24, 2011

LETTER TO TNIE

Dear Sir,

Reference your edit – ” A need for quicker justice ” – (TNIE – 24 Feb)

You wrote : ” The villain of the piece is the politicisation of the case. Ordinarily, it should not have been difficult for the police to find out whether the fire that burnt alive 59 karsevaks in the Ahmedabad-bound Sabarmati Express was the result of a conspiracy or not. But then politics intervened and contesting claims were made, including one by a farcical commission of inquiry appointed by then railway minister Lalu Prasad “.


Just politics Sir ? Are you implying the ‘secular English’ media, was ‘lily white as an angel’ in its reportage from 27 Feb 2002 till date ? Really ?


For starters. Rohit Srivastava, a freelance journalist, had posted his Article – ” Judicial snub to crypto Islamists “, in a popular website. He wrote, among others : ” Yet on 22 Feb. 2011, as a Gujarat court pronounced verdict in the Godhra train massacre, a vicious calumny against the 59 victims of the carnage in particular, and the Hindu community at large, came
gloriously unstuck. This unpalatable truth has now come home to our duplicitous Hindu-baiting liberal media, politicians, and activists of all hues, with the sessions court declaring that the Godhra carnage was an act of conspiracy, pronouncing 31 accused as guilty, and acquitting 63 accused for lack of credible evidence. The media however, particularly the 24 x 7 news channels that most politicized the Gujarat riots and defamed the nation internationally, was compelled to show its face, and showed that introspection was not in its DNA. Nevertheless, these Crypto-Islamists in the media, who share the views of every Islamist from the Hurriyat to the Pakistani regime, have got a loud slap with the Godhra verdict “.

(REF:   http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1647 )


Then, there is the case of an authentic inquiry with an on-the-spot investigation in Gujarat under the aegis of the New Delhi-based Council for International Affairs and Human Rights. Its findings were made public as early as April 26th, 2002, through a press conference held in Delhi. Running counter to the politically correct line of an “orchestrated attack,” they were largely ignored by the media. This team was led by Justice Tewatia. On the media’s role, in Gujarat – 2002, here is a summary of their findings : (a) – Gujarati language media was factual and objective. Yet its propensity to highlight the gory incidents in great detail heightened communal tension; (b) – English language newspapers … appeared to have assumed the role of crusaders against the State [Gujarat] Government from day one. It coloured the entire operation of news gathering, feature writing and editorials. They distorted and added fiction to prove their respective points of view. The code of ethics prescribed by the Press Council of India was violated … with impunity. It so enraged the citizens that several concerned citizens in the disturbed areas suggested that peace could return to the state only if some
of the TV channels were closed for some weeks.

(REF: http://www.jaia-bharati.org/nicole-elfi/ni-godhra-ang.htm ).


If the foregoing was not enough, here’s some more. The Editor-in-Chief, TNIE, ought to have been closely acquainted with the T.V. News Channel ‘Aaj Tak’ ?? . Arvind Lavakare, a former part-time columnist for the TOI, wrote the Article : ” Who killed 254 Hindus in Gujarat? “, and posted it in the popular website ‘Sify’ of 16 Nov 2007. He wrote : ” Even as a prominent TV channel, Aaj Tak, repeatedly aired its sponsored Tehelka tapes “exposing” Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his Gujarat government as Neros and mass murderers in the post-Godhra tragedy of 2002, B.P. Singhal, former IPS and ex-Rajya Sabha
member, sent out to a newspaper his signed article that contained a nugget deserving entry in the cartoon panels of Robert Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Below is that item in Singhal’s own words”.

And Singhal’s words stated : ” Aaj Tak harped on the same old refrain that ‘Modi did not call the Army until three days had passed’. When the TV channel contacted me on phone to get my response, I told the anchor that the Godhra carnage took place on February 27, 2002, that the Hindu backlash commenced on February 28 and the Army was doing flag march on the forenoon of March 1… He cut me short by saying that ‘This is exactly what we had said, no action was taken by Modi on 29th, 30th and 31st thus giving three clear days to the murderers…’ I had to cut him short by reminding him that the date 28th was 28th of February 2002 and there were no 29th, 30th or 31st in that month. The phone was of course disconnected”.  Impartial, unbiased, and, ‘VERY-VERY-SECULAR’ MEDIA !!! Bah !! Give me a break !!

(REF: http://www.hvk.org/articles/1107/79.html)


Mention ought to be made of a few ‘noble souls’ who had not ‘sold their souls at the altar of Indian secularism’, and who wrote Articles to counter the canards spread by , among others – A Booker Prize Winner (to boot!!) -  and the rest of the media !! From my Archives, these ‘noble souls’ -  S. Gurumurthy in The New Indian Express (March 2nd), Jaya Jaitley, in The Indian Express (March 7th), Rajeev Srinivasan in Rediff on Net (March 25th), Arvind Lavakare in Rediff on Net (April 23rd), T. Tomas in Business Standard (April 26th), François Gautier in The Pioneer (April 30th), M.V. Kamath in The Times of India (May 8th), Balbir Punj in Outlook (May 27th), each one expounded the absurdity of a situation where the majority of Indians — the Hindu community — are looked down upon as second class citizens. A negligible lot taken for granted because it is harmless, non-aggressive, and unable to speak and act as one coherent, organized group.


Varsha Bhonsle (a niece of the melody Queen, Asha Bhonsle), hit the nail on the head in her ‘hard hitting’ piece in the website Rediff, in her Article of 04 March 2002 , entitled :
” Without tinder, sparks are useless “. She wrote : “  Bhosle’s “inflammatory” writing on the Web does not reach the Hindus of Godhra — it is the “national” newspapers, filled with anti-Hindu slants, that fuel their sense of estrangement in their own country. If our “secularists” do not recognise the crime they are committing — the position in which they are placing a minority — such riots will continue. With or without the VHP. Why make a tinderbox in the first place and then guard against a spark?? Chuck out the tinder! The spark will be wasted “.


Again. ” You see, if a Vinod Mehta or a Dilip Padgaonkar can’t be bothered to wear a janoi or believe fervently in the existence of Ram, it follows that any Hindu who does can’t be a sane specimen. If a Shekhar Gupta or a Kuldip Nayar feels no threat to his self-esteem from a mosque built on land traditionally revered as Ram’s janmabhoomi, it follows that anyone who does is an extremist-Hindu-fundamentalist-activist “.


And therefore, Varsha’s prescription to rid the Nation of this ‘disease’ – which I holeheartedly endorse : ” none of it would have happened if someone had stuffed all our Nehruvian secularists and pinkos — politician, press and commoner — into a giant box and drowned it at sea in 1947 “. 

How Very True !!


(REF: http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/mar/04varsha.htm)


The Long and the short of the ‘Godhra Verdict’ : ” The media has egg on its face”.

But our ‘secular’ media is beyond redemption & repair. Therefore, introspection is out of the equation. However, for whatever it is worth, the words of Marie-Lou Fernandes, in her excellent – ” Leadership Without Legitimacy: Will The Indian Media Get Its Act Together? “, posted at the website Huffington Post of 19 Dec 2010, wrote : ” If the Indian media wishes
to remain relevant in the Internet age, it will have to fight for change – a working code of ethics, new leaders, better role models for a new generation of journalists, and if possible, a little humility now and then “.


It is also worth quoting the Belgian scholar, Dr.Koenraad Elst, whose writings on the Ayodhya : Ram Jhanmabhoomi / Babri Masjid controversy, were proved ‘correct’ by the Allahabad High Court verdict of 30 Sep 2010. Here is what he had to say about the Indian ‘secular’ media : ” Distorted or even totally false reporting on communally sensitive issues is a
well-entrenched feature of Indian journalism.  There is no self-corrective mechanism in place to remedy this endemic culture of disinformation.  No reporter or columnist or editor ever gets fired or formally reprimanded or even just criticized by his peers for smearing Hindu nationalists.  This way, a partisan economy with the truth has become a habit
hard to relinquish “.

(REF: http://koenraadelst.voiceofdharma.com/articles/ayodhya/foundnlost.html)

Thus, be it Ayodhya, Godhra, Ram Setu, or anything in future, we are fully aware of the ‘distortions’ the ‘secular’ media will ‘deliberately’ introduce in the discourse !!

Jai Ho !!

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