Murder of a journalist
The brutal murder in Madhya Pradesh of Chandrika Rai and his family seems to be an open attack on free and fair journalism (“Journalist, family murdered; hand of mining mafia suspected,” Feb.20). What is the message? That investigative journalism should not be allowed to have a free run? The plunder of precious resources in India has to be exposed. It is distressing that the government has not initiated any legal action on the strength of the consistent writings of Chandrika Rai.
Had there been untruth in Rai's writings, filing a suit in court would have been the proper remedy. Investigative journalism, which has played a key role in exposing major frauds in the country, is an imperative need. Journalists who are involved in this difficult task are always at risk of incurring the wrath of those affected. As such, they need full public support and due protection.
The brutal murder should make society sit up and debate ways and means of breaking the criminal-politician nexus. One can immediately think of Anna Hazare's pressure tactics, with which the establishment was forced to bend. The criminals who murdered Rai must have acted in the knowledge that even if the law catches up with them, they will be protected by their corrupt and influential patrons who will be in a position to manipulate the criminal justice system. One can also think of this being linked to the political system. The condition that only conviction can trigger disqualification from contesting elections is a deliberately planted loophole in the law to facilitate the entry of criminals into legislatures. For, as things stand, the average time taken for conclusion of a criminal trial is about two decades. Decriminalisation of politics is no longer a desirable long-term goal; it has become an absolute and immediate necessity to protect democracy.
The killing brings back memories of J. Dey's murder that happened a few months ago. Once again the unholy nexus between criminals and politicians is on display. Is it enough to condemn these murders strongly, demand an investigation and then forget about them within a week? If journalists have to pay a heavy price for doing their job, anybody will start thinking twice before joining this profession. The article “For journalists, conflicts are never glamorous,” by Pranay Gupte (Feb.20), is both well-timed and unsettling.
Time and again we have seen the brutal murder of various journalists and social activists. In recent years, journalism has become very dynamic and its role is just like that of an investigative agency. It is the duty of the government to provide security to these people who show exemplary courage and fight injustice. What is the use of endless debates on a whistle-blowers Bill? A murder of a whistle-blower has taken place.
Lalit Kumar Bhardwaj,
In today's world, only muscle and money power plays a vital role. Anyone who opposes or expresses correctness is being awarded supari . Dirty politics is the bane of our country.
Vithal G. Deshpande,
Gandhiji's principle of “see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil” has now changed to “speak no truth, see no truth, hear no truth and also write no truth.” In this country, the trend in the media now is to play up frivolous subjects like Bollywood and cricket, and ignore dying farmers, poverty, corruption and criminalisation.
T. Anand Raj,
In recent months, the media and RTI activists have uncovered the mind-boggling extent of scams and allegations of corruption. Journalists and activists deserve safety to life and limb. The corrupt must realise that public perception has changed. The response to the Anna Hazare campaign should be an eye-opener to the corrupt.
If this is what happens to mediamen, what will be the plight of the common man who fights corruption? The incident should galvanise the media to fight back and prove that the “pen is mightier than the sword.”
Vinodh Rajadurai K.,
Lights and mercury
The article, “Going green, with a large side order of mercury,” (Feb.20) shows the reluctance of the State governments and authorities to confront the challenges in ensuring the safe disposal of such lamps. The onus lies on manufacturers to print information on the harmful effects of mercury on the environment and our health.
The Ministries of Environment & Forests and Health should place adequate funds at the disposal of civic bodies for initiating segregation of such products in each household. Monetary incentives to hand over such end-of-life products to responsible agencies for safe disposal are necessary.
Dorai Raj K.,
India can pat itself on the back for its tough diplomatic stand in bringing the two Italian marines to book (Feb. 20). The Italian government also deserves credit for bringing this sordid chapter to an end. In this context, one cannot help wondering about the plight of Tamil fishermen at the hands of the Navy of a neighbouring country, where not a week passes by without an incident of inhuman and wanton violence against them.
The External Affairs Ministry needs to be commended for adopting and maintaining its tough stance and letting the law take its course. One could well imagine the hue and cry that would have been raised had Indian marines committed a similar offence in the territorial waters of another country. The picture on page one (Feb. 20) said it all.
B. Suresh Kumar,
The government should be appreciated for arresting the Italian marines. That the jurisdiction of India is supreme must be ensured.
C. Kamalnath Yadav,
The Italian crew should have contacted the naval authorities in Kochi before the marines acted the way they did. Guidelines need to be framed by India and made clear to all foreign vessels passing the Indian coast.
What the Italian marines are alleged to have done is an offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, as also a violation of natural law and human rights. It appears that Italy nurtures the notion that the crew of a vessel can attack other vessels without rhyme or reason.
Suspicion is a state of mind and is subjective. India was powerful enough in apprehending and producing the culprits before its court in spite of international pressure.
It is astonishing that the Italian government has come to the rescue of wrongdoers using outlandish justifications. The attempt to cover up the offence is despicable. This is a violation of basic human rights and national and international laws.