: Patna, (BiharTimes) : A very funny thing happened with television journalism in India on January 13. Several national channels took the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mayawati, to task for not expelling from the party the MLA arrested on the charge of raping a 17-year old girl belonging to the Nishad community, an extremely backward caste.
None of them appreciated her boldness to at least order the arrest of Brahmin Bahujan Samaj Party MLA, Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi, and three of his associates involved in the gang-rape on December 11-12 night. The MLA had then got the girl arrested on the charge of stealing mobile phone. But what is strange is that none of these ladies and gentlemen in the national television channels deemed it fit to follow up a unique murder which took place in Bihar’s Purnea district. The BJP MLA, Raj Kishore Kesri, was stabbed to death by 43-year old respected lady principal of a school, Rupam Pathak, for repeatedly raping her. The lady also accused the MLA’s aide, Bipin Rai, who is still roaming about freely in the town of the same charge. So if UP government took one month time to arrest the ruling party MLA, here in Bihar Rupam had to face the ordeal for three long years before taking up the knife.
What is tragic is that none else but the deputy chief minister of the state, Sushil Kumar Modi, a couple of hours after the incident termed the woman as blackmailer. She was dubbed as blackmailer even when she lodged the FIR against the MLA and his aide on April 18 last year.
Though these so-called premier national channels did the story on the murder of the MLA on January 4 morning hardly anyone of them followed up the news related to Rupam Pathak, who was almost lynched by supporters of the BJP. The national electronic media––the regional ones did some good job––virtually blacked out the news of the arrest of the journalist, Navlesh Pathak, on January 5 night though his only crime was that in his local English weekly he first published the news of the alleged rape of Rupmn Pathak that too with the version of accused.
It remains a mystery as to why the media houses and even the journalist associations have chosen to remain silent when all social and legal norms are being thrown into wind in Bihar. The state has never seen such a situation when a journalist who raised the issue has been put behind bars while all the senior journalists kept their tongues tied. Navlesh, it must be recalled, had in the past reported from Purena for several months for a national Englsih daily.
The alleged rapist Bipin Rai, the other accused besides the late MLA, has still been at large with no policeman daring to touch him.
Though individual journalists have issued statement but neither the Bihar Working Journalist Association nor any other trade union has opened its mouth yet. After all why is Navlesh in jail and what is his crime.
True if Mayawati can be critized by channel after channel for not expelling the MLA from her party though she herself ordered Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi’s arrest why nobody in the national and state media asking Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi some very pointed questions on this issue.
Nobody is holding brief for Mayawati, she at least has the courage to order the arrest of one MP and four of her party’s MLA in the last three and a half years of the government.
Several weeks after coming to power in 2007 Mayavati had called party MP Ramakant Yadav to her home and got him arrested for encroaching on Dalit land.
Apart from that Guddu Pandey, Shekhar Tiwari and Anandsen Yadav are the three MLAs arrested on charges like murder or rape during her rule. Purushottam Naresh Dwivedi is the fourth legislator to be arrested.
Media, which is considered as a watch-dog can never remain as mute spectators when criminals go about freely. But Bihar has emerged as a unique state where one can hardly dare to write anything against the government as the advertisement would be stopped or like Navlesh Pathak the scribe would be thrown into jail with nobody daring to come out.
These so-called corporate-journalists––they would coin the fantastic concept of citizen-journalism––should at least stop sermonizing Mayawati and look within. What is preventing them from calling spade a spade in Bihar.
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