Thursday, 21 August 2008

Shameful Silence

The Supreme Court has issued notices to the media on a public interest litigation over the role of the media in the Arushi-Hemraj double case, especially the slanderous reports on the Talwars. It has also suggested that guidelines be drawn up for media coverage of ongoing cases. The Times of India has carried a long article saying this is a case of misplaced priorities and that the police were more guilty in defaming the Talwars than the media. In a related development the press has gone to town over the reinstating of Gurdarshan Singh as IG Meerut Range after he was removed following his allegation at a press conference that Rajesh Talwar had killed his daughter.

In all this, something has been totally ignored – the fate of Krishna and the two other servants arrested for the murder. Has a chargesheet been filed? Has the CBI got conclusive evidence against them? Last I read, and this was some weeks back, the CBI said it knew where the weapon was. So why don’t they produce it and why don’t proceedings against the trio start? Of if there is no evidence against them, why aren’t they being released on bail?

The media is completely devoid of stories on this. In contrast, look at what happened during the 50 days Rajesh Talwar was in jail. There was almost a daily bulletin on him and when he was released there was an outpouring of grief on his wrongful incarceration. But nobody is agonising over the fate of the three servants, let alone shedding tears. Nobody is asking the same questions that were asked when Talwar was languishing in jail. Forget opinion pieces, nobody is even doing a news story on whether their remand period has ended, what is happening to their case, have they got bail. I had dealt with this issue in an earlier post Media Under Trial for Media Trial and the current silence in the media only seems to confirm what I had said toward the end of the piece – that there is a class issue here. Maybe the trio were the real murderers and maybe Talwar had been framed. But if Talwar had to be released for lack of evidence then the same yardstick should apply to these three as well. If the media overkill when Talwar was in jail was shameful, then its silence over the fate of the three servants is equally shameful.

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