Monday, June 13, 2011

Investigative Journalists are soft targets

After J Dey’s death, silent moments, pain and tears and whispers are visible. 24 hours have already passed since Dey’s departure, yet the police are clueless about his death. Dey's funeral was an emotional farewell. So many questions around, so much of grief, insecurity, pain was in ambience. Shameless police and politicians marked their presence by facing media cameras but there was no hitch of regret on their face. Condolence messages kept pouring from media house to media house. There was competition in sending fax and smses to media. Finally, a journalist’s death too was encashed by these hypocrites for their own publicity. None of them is worried about the police and home department that is clueless about the crime. It was difficult to believe that their buddy left this world forever. He was shot from close distance and police are still clue less about the unknown assailants. How can this government and police department can just let go such issue? Now they think that journalists should be provided with security but what about the past? Who will compensate for J Dey’s death? A large number of media persons had turned up to pay their last respects to the senior journalist. Dey is survived by his wife Shubha Sharma and mother. Looking at his family I had experienced pain in my ribs. I started wondering that this could happen to my family too for bringing out the truth. A journalist is always a soft target.

In broad daylight city like Mumbai where we boast about better law and order, anyone can take anybody’s life and escape clueless. The Maharashtra government swung into action, ordering special police teams to probe Dey’s death. Will they be really investigating the issue? Do you thing can we ever get to know the real criminal? Despite being compared with Scotland Yard police, the Mumbai police continue to be clueless about the crime. State Home Minister R R Patil, Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and order) Rajnish Seth and several senior government officers should be answerable for this incidence. Our dumb Chief Minister directed Patnaik to arrest the culprits involved in Mr Dey’s murder but where can the murderer be nabbed? He also has failed to mention whom to be held responsible for this case? Always an eye wash, god knows for how long?

J Dey had been receiving death threats and police were aware about it. How come Chief Minister failed to provide police protection for Dey? The government has provided security to Dey’s family at a time when it has lost it bread winner. It very unfortunate, the Home Minister could have acted and provided security to the crime journalist before he was gunned down. Now what is the use of plan for journalists' protection? Senior NCP leader and PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said that it was very important to get the culprits behind bars. It’s true Mr Bhujbal but how can we put the accused behind bars? Just by giving mere political statements to media or by exercising your powers to really nab a culprit? How can you all ministers become so shameless to come in front of camera and still talk big. The manner in which bullets were pumped into Dey’s body, no law could have helped him at that time. The relevant department will look into it. But whatever happened is sad, bad.

The police, meanwhile, are examining the CCTV footage of Crisil House, which is located opposite the scene of the crime. The footage, though, isn't very clear because it was raining heavily at the time of the journalist's murder. So now is there any other way? Or any other excuse for media? The post-mortem report of Dey shows that five bullets were pumped into his body and one bullet that hit his shoulder did not come out. He died due to the bullet injury. Five bullets were pumped into his body and there was no noise? The attack on J Dey was undoubtedly an attack on the media. The police say they can’t establish a motive. Well, Dey had been covering the underworld for years; he’d written on the diesel mafia. Two leads for you, Commissioner Arup Patnaik. But we’re not surprised. The police force is flabby, too busy with rallies and subordinates’ cell phones. It, therefore, came as no surprise at all that in recent cases like the Kurar murders, the local officers did not even want to take down a complaint. Is the Mumbai police inept, poorly led, or just plain corrupt? Difficult to say.

J Dey was killed in a centrally-connected neighbourhood, in broad daylight and within walking distance of a police station. It adds up to one conclusion: in Mumbai, no one is safe. And when a citizen’s physical security cannot be guaranteed by the State, then that State has forfeited its right to govern. Bullet riddled bodies don’t make a crime reporter cringe. When I looked at J Day’s dead body I was scared, because all these days even I was doing investigative journalism, now also i am doing my reserch on Hackers, they do defametary blogging,they abuse and some times even make calls to me and threatn.

If you want to reach the fact and fight odd, then your destiny is death. It was an association that lasted right unto his death. Those were the years when J. Dey was still trying to find his footing in journalism. Enough is enough. Things need to get back on track, and we can start with the enactment of stringent provisions against those who attack the media. Or we can be one of those banana republics where dead journalists are commonplace.

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