अजीत साही को रास न आया टीवी9

अजीत साही
अजीत साही
: टीवी9, मुंबई से इस्तीफा : न्यूज डायरेक्टर के पद पर थे : मां की तबियत खराब होने से इलाहाबाद पहुंचे : टीवी न्यूज इंडस्ट्री के चर्चित और वरिष्ठ पत्रकार अजीत साही ने टीवी9 से विदा ले लिया है. पत्रकारिता के बेहद उर्जावान व क्षमतावान लोगों में शुमार किए जाने वाले अजीत साही ढाई वर्षों तक तहलका में रहने के बाद टीवी में न्यूज डायरेक्टर के पद पर पहुंचे थे. किन हालात में उन्होंने टीवी9 से विदा लिया, यह पता नहीं चल पाया है.

अजीत साही को नजदीक से जानने वाले लोगों का कहना है कि विजन के लेवल पर मीडिया इंडस्ट्री के कुछ बेजोड़ लोगों में से अजीत हैं. कई बार टीम उनके विजन के लेवल तक नहीं पहुंच पाती, उनके विजन को कनसीव नहीं कर पाती तो उन्हें कोफ्त होती है. इसी कारण वे अक्सर खुद इस्तीफा दे देते हैं. ये वही अजीत शाही हैं जिनके नेतृत्व में जागरण समूह के न्यूज चैनल ‘चैनल7’ की लांचिंग हुई थी जिसे बाद में राघव बहल को बेच दिया गया और इसका नाम ‘आईबीएन7’ कर दिया गया. भारत में टीवी न्यूज की शुरुआत के स्तंभों में माने जाते हैं अजीत साही. इलाहाबाद के रहने वाले अजीत शाही ने तहलका के अपने ढाई वर्षों के कार्यकाल में जिस तरह की बेहतरीन रिपोर्टिंग की, वह उनके ही बूते की बात थी.

अजीत की खासियत है कि वे एक सामान्य रिपोर्टर की तरह काम करने में भी संकोच नहीं करते.  बेहद डाउन टू अर्थ होने के साथ-साथ विचार के लेवल पर तीक्ष्ण व जनपक्षधर हैं. वे खबर की तह तक पहुंचने में विश्वास रखते हैं जिसे ज्यादातर पत्रकार उपर से, सतह से, छूकर निकल जाते हैं. कहा जा रहा है कि टीवी9 प्रबंधन ने अजीत शाही को रोकने की काफी कोशिश की लेकिन अजीत चल दिए तो चल दिए. कारपोरेट पत्रकारिता के चारण न बन सकने वाले अजीत की खासियत रही है कि वे तभी तक किसी संस्थान के साथ रहे जब तक उनके दिल ने साथ रहने को कहा. इसी कारण वे फ्री-लांस जर्नलिज्म व एसाइनमेंट बेस्ड काम को खुद के ज्यादा करीब पाते हैं. मां की तबियत खराब होने के कारण इन दिनों इलाहाबाद में रह रहे अजीत साही ने अपने इस्तीफे के मसले पर कुछ भी कहने से इनकार कर दिया. उन्होंने इस्तीफे की पुष्टि करते हुए इतना जरूर कहा कि उन्हें किसी से कोई शिकायत नहीं है. वे तबीयत के आदमी हैं. जब तक इच्छा हुई काम किया. मां की बीमारी की वजह से इलाहाबाद आया हूं. मां को साथ लेकर इलाज के लिए दिल्ली लौटूंगा.


यहां हम अजीत साही के उस इंटरव्यू को प्रकाशित कर रहे हैं जो उन्होंने तहलका में रहते हुए सिमी संगठन पर अपनी कवर स्टोरी के बाद डेली मुस्लिम्स नामक वेबसाइट से जुड़े योगिंदर सिकंद को दिया था. इस इंटरव्यू में भारतीय मुसलमानों, मुस्लिम संगठनों, मुस्लिम राजनीति आदि पर काफी कुछ बातें हुई हैं. अजीत साही के काम और विचार की एक झलक इस इंटरव्यू के जरिए आप देख सकते हैं. -एडिटर, भड़ास4मीडिया

An Interview with Ajit Sahi

-Yoginder Sikand-

Ajit Sahi, a journalist with the weekly Tehelka, recently created a storm with his investigation of cases of scores of innocent Muslims languishing in jails falsely accused by the police of being members of the outlawed Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and of being behind a string of bomb blasts and other terror acts across India.

In a series of articles recently published in Tehelka he has exposed the lies of the police and argues that this is part of a premeditated campaign to wrongly implicate and harass Muslim youths and demonise the Muslim community. In this interview with Yoginder Sikand he talks about his investigations and startling revelations.

Q: What made you take up the issue of SIMI activists and those accused of being associated with the banned group ?

A: For some years now, the Indian media has been awash with stories about the SIMI being allegedly behind a spate of bomb blasts across India. It’s like SIMI here, SIMI there, SIMI everywhere. I have been working with Tehelka for just six months now but I have been a journalist for over two decades, starting with the Indian Express , and that has taught me to distrust the stories put out by the police, by the administration, by the government. Governments lie, and this is irrespective of whether they are formally democratic or dictatorial. It’s in their DNA, as it were. So, when the police continued coming out with stories about SIMI activists being involved in all these bomb blasts, my first, instinctual response was to smell a rat. I knew these stories had to be questioned because what the media was reporting was essentially based on what was being dished out by the police and the intelligence agencies.

So, the first thing I did was to contact a Delhi-based lawyer who was defending SIMI in the courts. From him I got the basic facts of the case, of the various charges of the government against SIMI. The government banned SIMI on what it said were urgent grounds, but these were only vague allegations, not on any solid proof. To take one bizarre instance: The background note accompanying the ban notification on SIMI says that one of the reasons for the ban is that among SIMI’s stated purposes is the propagation of Islam! How can that be cited as a ground for banning an organisation? Surely, the Constitution of India provides every religious group, including Muslims, the right to propagate its faith.

The situation is really Kafkaesque. The law has it that the ban on any banned organisation can be challenged in a tribunal but then, it adds, only an office-bearer or member of the said banned organisation can do so. But the same law says that a member of a banned organisation can be liable for up to three years’ imprisonment! So, then, how can the ban be at all contested? This struck me as bizarre, and so I decided to go further into the issue, particularly since almost all other media persons were simply toeing the government’s and the police’s line. And my investigations showed that scores of innocent Muslim youth have been picked up by the police and wrongly accused of being terrorists. This menacing trend continues unabated.

Q: So, then, what did you do next?

A: I travelled along with the members of the Tribunal dealing with the ban on SIMI, and from the end of May till the middle of July this year I visited numerous places, including Trivandrum, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Udaipur, Bhopal, Aurangabad, and Mumbai—places which the Tribunal was visiting. In addition, I went on my own to Bhiwandi and Ahmedabad, and met a number of former SIMI activists. Meeting people in all these places and going deeper into the facts of the case, I realised that scores of innocent Muslims were being wrongly and grossly unfairly framed by the police and the state apparatus for being allegedly behind various bomb blasts. Under Indian law, you are presumed innocent until you are proven guilty, but this principle has been completely violated in the case of these people, in the case of hundreds of innocent Muslims who have been picked up by the police and tortured by them and forced to make false confessions. In not a single case has it so far been conclusively proven that SIMI activists have been involved in terrorist offences. There is no merit in any of these cases.

As I said, I discovered to my horror that the charges against these innocent Muslim youth were based on confessions before the police, and we all know how these confessions are made. There is routine torture of the most barbaric kind, forcing the detainees to admit to the false accusations against them. According to the Indian Evidence Act, enacted by the British over a hundred years ago, no confession given to the police can be even presented to the court, let alone be used as evidence. The British knew that the police would resort to torture to force people to confess to crimes they had not committed and so made this law to prevent this sort of thing. But this is precisely what is happening in these cases. No other proof is being presented. According to the law, only confession made before a magistrate can be accepted, but in these cases months go by without the accused being presented before the courts, during which they are routinely tortured by the police and generally falsely implicated.

Q: How do you see this wave of arrests of Muslim youth across the country? How do you explain it?

A: Obviously the intention is to further reinforce hatred against Muslims, to justify the denial to the community of its dignity, of its right to exist with respect.

Q: Who, then, do you think the real culprits are?

A: Look at the record of the past fifty years. The police have killed scores of innocent people, wrongly branding them as terrorists.

Q: What you say about many of the implicated Muslim youth, including some former SIMI activists and members, might be true. But, surely, you would agree, the SIMI’s pan-Islamist ideology, its call for a global Caliphate, its radical rhetoric and so on, are problematic, to say the least?

A: The Constitution of India allows for groups to be pan-Islamic, pan-Christian or pan-Hindu or whatever. That itself is not a criminal offence. I am a Hindu. I believe that the Gita is a divine revelation, and I regard it as superior to the Indian Constitution, which is a human creation. Am I not within my rights to say that what I believe to be God’s word is superior to man’s word? Can you send me to jail for that? The same holds true for Muslims or others. I believe that Hindus and Muslims are the eyes of India, without either of them India will die. Much though the Indian elites want a homogenised India created in their image, India will die the day that happens. I’ll never become a Muslim myself. I’ll die a Hindu. But, still, it is my belief as a Hindu that Hindus and Muslims are equally my brethren. As a Hindu, I believe that my religion, my dharma, commands me to stand by the truth, by my Muslim brethren against whom vicious canards are being spread and who are being unfairly targeted by the police and the state as ‘terrorists’.

I am not a social activist. I am just a simple journalist. Doing these investigations into the SIMI affair and exposing the heaps of lies of the police and the state about the blasts and the arrested persons has made me feel purposeful as never before. I am 42 now, and so far I have been chasing money and highly-paid jobs. But now, after going through all this in the course of the investigations I have been doing into charges against innocent Muslims, I have more clarity as to my purpose in life.

Q: And what is that?

A: It’s the purpose that every decent journalist should have: to investigate the truth. I have to speak out the truth and expose the lies that the government and its agents are so blatantly spreading.

Q: As you rightly point out, literally hundreds of Muslims are being wrongly branded as terrorists and arrested indiscriminately across the country for terror acts that might actually have been done by other agencies or groups. In such a situation, what hope is there for justice?

A: Things have become so bad now that even hope from the courts seems unlikely. Many judges are extremely communal and heavily prejudiced against Muslims. I don’t think we can expect anything from the judiciary. There’s this magistrate in Bangalore whom I interviewed who says that because one person who was nabbed had a dollar on him he has international links! Can you imagine!? It is easy to wake up a sleeping person, but almost impossible to do that to someone who is awake. Going by how things presently are, I don’t think Muslims can expect justice from the government or the police either.

At this critical juncture, I think it is vital that Muslims do not lose courage. I think the only way is to stand up against this wave of oppression and engage in non-violent resistance against oppression. History shows that the oppressed have always stood up to injustice and Muslims will, and must, do that, in solidarity with people of other faiths, like myself, who are extremely concerned about what’s happening.

अपने मोबाइल पर भड़ास की खबरें पाएं. इसके लिए Telegram एप्प इंस्टाल कर यहां क्लिक करें : https://t.me/BhadasMedia

Comments on “अजीत साही को रास न आया टीवी9

  • vikas mishra says:

    अफसोस है कि अजीत सर की टीवी 9 की पारी इतनी संक्षिप्त रही। मैंने चैनल 7 में उनकी अगुवाई में काम किया है। अपने ढंग के अलबेले हैं। उम्मीद कर रहा हूं कि मां की सेहत अच्छी होने के बाद अजीत सर फिर कहीं कोई धमाका करेंगे।
    विकास मिश्र

    Reply

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