Prof. Harikesh Singh
Amidst the ongoing unprecedented universal corona crisis, the media persons are working day and night to inform the society with the status of overall situation in India. The Indian panorama is typical where some miscreants who are carriers of corona viruses and indulged in upsetting the state and society for their terrorists’ mindset and vested agenda. For the last ten days, there have been references of the intimidation of the media persons throughout the country. Certainly they are the same culprits who had crafted the design to carry the virus to all parts of India especially hiding in mosques or in their own shelters earmarked for all such nefarious activities in this country. Unfortunately such miscreants take the name of religion, their scriptures and the Almighty (Allah). The fact is that these people are not seeing the cause of their religion rather they are spoons and stooges of the defaulters and deviants so called Maulavis and Mullahs. They are defaming their own community, religion and also the places of prayers.
The present ruling party in India has been trying its best to persuade deviants to correct themselves and keep refrained from such insane misdeeds, but due to hidden support of the so-called trouble creating politicians and disguised religious criminal priests no significant change is occurring. The media persons accomplish their job in the most uncongenial and exigent situations. They cover the exact events then and there wherever there is serious chaos, crisis and calamity. Now-a-days young girls and boys as media cameramen, reporters, and journalists are discharging their duties 24 hours in the field and offices. Be it the case of newspapers, broadcasting and telecasting. They are human beings. They have also vision and mission with their duty. Unfortunately many media persons and RTI activists had and have met the unfortunate fate also. They have lost their lives for the fulfillment of their accountability as media persons. They deserve tribute for their dedication to the Fourth Estate (i.e., Media). They were, and they are individuals with unique mettle and acumen. They never preferred unholy compromises and they were not salable ones. They preferred suffering for their mission to the pleasure.
An intensive audit of the responsible transaction of different sectors of the nation reveals that the judiciary and the media have played their roles in saving the country. Even judges have also sometimes faced the unexpected intimidation by criminals. It is a big threat to sustainability of democratic ethos in the country. It is an antithetical culture emerging during this corona crisis. A handful of miscreant in the name of the torchbearers of a particular community are backing up such pet criminals. They are more dangerous than corona to the communal harmony and democratic civility and serenity. Democracy succeeds only on the prime qualities of Dialogue Dissent and Decisions arrived at by mutual discussion, debate, discourse etc. Irrational fanaticism, cruelty, callousness, and coercion have no place in a civil society. But it has been denied and the criminals are sabotaging the harmony, democracy, and progress of the country by adopting violent measures. It is highly condemnable and alarming.
Let us recapitulate the martyrdom of the media persons and RTI activists who sacrificed their lives for the national cause. Are their cases not still under trial? Are the socially identified criminals not walking freely? Are the family members of those martyr RTI activists and media persons not threatened? Are the witnesses not being either liquidated or humiliated? These are some pertinent and perplexing questions which need adequate answers by the Central and Provincial both governments. Till today not any statutory body, association or forum has come forward to demonstrate and offer memorandum to the high ups. It is an indication of apathy and underestimation of the crucial emerging trend. Truly speaking, the threatening criminals are more dangerous and mega viruses to the proper functioning of all democratic institutions. The Markaz affiliation and Jamayat linkage are atypical terrorist brand and band. They have crossed all limits of criminality and cruelty. Immediate rigorous and appropriate actions are required to be taken by state agencies without any further delay.
It is a popular dictum that justice delayed is justice denied. It has aggravated also. The Supreme Court is not silent and apathetic, but the bulk of pendency is heaping day by day. Many alternative measures have been devised and their follow-ups are satisfactory also. But the extraordinary emergency has arisen. All citizens are residing in their homes and houses under Lockdown measures, but groups adamant to damage the society are involved in multifaceted nefarious misconducts. They are mistreating with nurses, police, doctors, relief providers etc. in the most vulgar and nude manner. Still there are their advocates and supporters in this society. They are praying even before the Hon’ble Supreme Court for the legal protection of the hero of Tablighis and Markaz based fundamentalists. It was all well planned and hatched criminal conspiracy to destabilize the sane survival of the Indian people and polity.
It is high time that States (s) should take this issue on top priority, review the IPC sections, and renovate the IPC and Cr.PC to prosecute such anti national criminals who have become mega viruses to the sane society, sensitive media personnel, sincere judiciary and finally to successfully sustaining democracy in this country. They are neither true Muslims nor religious trustees. They are completely sponsored criminals of alien and enemy countries to the India. May I pray to Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Hon’ble High Courts of different states to register sue motto cognizance against such anti-national activists. Further, if it is not out of judicial procedures this small article may be treated as a PIL for the remedy and redress of this intimidation. It may include the identification of the culprits, prosecution; time bound trials by fast track courts, and charging with heavy financial penalties. I hope if this time it is not cured adequately, it will take the shape of a more serious pandemic than corona.
It is expected that the liability of prosecution should be vested with government and its agencies and not on a part of the sufferer. It is a legal formal requirement that the intimidated media persons should come forward and report or lodge the FIR. If possible and feasible the government (s) may take initiatives to establish some Umbrella Statutory agency both in the centre and state to take care of all such issues and resolve amicably within the shortest possible period. The PCI, PIB, UNA, PTI etc. should be invited as active partners to meet this challenge. The officials of higher ranks from military, judiciary and police must be entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring and supervising the functions and functionaries of the proposed umbrella agency. Hoping optimistically, the present leadership in the centre will give a serious thought over this high priority issue and ensure the climate of free, fair and fearless media service.
About the Author:
Prof. Harikesh Singh was Former Vice Chancellor of Jai Prakash University, Bihar; Former Head and Dean Faculty of Education of Banaras Hindu University; Former Head of Department, Department of Foundations of Education, NIEPA, New Delhi; Former Member, State Advisory Council on Right to Education, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow and Former National Vice President Acharyakul (founded by Acharya Vinoba Bhave)