Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Home Media Jagendra Singh : the journalist who was burnt alive but failed to shake Lutyens

Jagendra Singh : the journalist who was burnt alive but failed to shake Lutyens

These days the discourse in the Indian media is high on “freedom”. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, religious and cultural freedoms, academic and intellectual freedoms. I can open any English language newspaper today and read about how Modi has wrecked press freedom. I can hear them shouting from the rooftops that their voices have been stifled.

Whatever virtues the Indian media might have, irony is clearly not their strong suit.

The voices have recently grown louder with the CBI raid on Prannoy Roy. In a clear violation of press immunity, the CBI raided residence of NDTV founder-promoter Prannoy Roy in connection with an alleged financial fraud.

Oops! Did I say “press immunity”? I meant “press freedom”. I always struggle with these concepts of having immunity vs having freedom. Anyway…

But there is one voice that I cannot hear. A voice that is gone forever. All that we have left is a few screams on tape.

Jagendra Singh
Somehow this was not ‘attack on press’

That’s the job of a journalist. Asking questions. And Jagendra Singh wanted to ask why “they” had to burn him alive? On his death bed, the helpless man wanted to ask why the “minister and his goondas” – which included police officers – could not have given him a lesser punishment, such as beating him up.

Who is Jagendra Singh?

Well, there are journalists who are burnt alive and have to beg for the more merciful “punishment” of being beaten up. And then there are journalists who have to be rushed to TV studios and Thinkfests  with severe third degree injuries from getting trolled on Twitter.

Jagendra Singh belonged to the former category. His journalism was a no-frills operation, for he ran a mere Facebook page called “Shahjahanpur Samachar” – basically he did not even have a proper job, but he had a passion for journalism.

For those who don’t know, Shahjahanpur is one of those sleepy little towns in Uttar Pradesh that never make the news. Shahjahanpur is definitely a bigger town than Dadri, though, but I digress.

On the Facebook page of Shahjahanpur Samachar, this man Jagendra Singh ended up writing extensively about alleged corruption of one Ram Murti Singh Verma, a minister in the then Akhilesh Yadav government of Uttar Pradesh.

So, a journalist accuses a minister of corruption. The next thing, the journalist is burnt alive and leaves behind a dying declaration (caught on video, no less) accusing people in power of burning him. (the video contains strong words and visuals, discretion advised).

Jagendra Singh was taken to a hospital. Apparently a police officer told the doctors not to tend to Singh and just let him die. The doctors did not listen to this ‘advice’ and transferred the grievously injured o Lucknow hospital, but Jagendra died of his burns a week later, back in June 2015.

What happens next? Does the Press Club hold an emergency meeting to begin a nationwide movement for justice to this journalist? Do intellectuals start returning heaps of awards to stir the national conscience?

No, of course not! The minister in question was secular, a member of the Samajwadi Party. The state of Uttar Pradesh was ruled at the time by the “Achche Ladke” team headed by Akhilesh Yadav.

Lutyens crowd was more interested in discussing Gajendra (Chauhan) than Jagendra.

So, nothing happens. Intellectuals keep their awards. Journalists keep raising awareness against the scourge of internet trolls. And activists demand FTII be saved.

Nothing to see in Shahjahanpur. A few months later, Dadri would go on to happen in “Modi’s India”. That’s when the cameras came, crying aloud for freedom.

Meanwhile the family of Jagendra tries to fight back, alone. They don’t get prime time television slot that may shake the conscience of the nation.

Accusation
Details that have been forgotten and not fit for prime time debate?

But the law had to take the case to its logical conclusion. Something had to be done about the complaint lodged by Jagendra Singh’s son.

Pressure
No one could smell any ‘pressure’?

Oh thank god! Jagendra Singh’s sons had earlier lodged a complaint against the minister. That was before they had a chat with their mother and discovered that his father had planned to threaten self-immolation all along. So nice of these two upright young sons to come forward and actually “demand a clean chit” for the minister.

Lest I am accused of not acknowledging good work by the Akhilesh government, let me also tell you that earlier the then state government announced 30 lakh rupees as compensation and two government jobs for the believed family. All of these just a day before media reports suggested a suicide angle. Kaam bolta hai, you see.

Who says that “ghor kaliyug” has come? It is moments like these that restore our faith in humanity.

pressure
A u-turn that didn’t raise any eyebrows

Fortunately, the alleged sole eyewitness in the alleged murder of the alleged journalist (hope I have used “alleged” sufficiently many times) also remembered just in time that it was actually a self-immolation. What an awful  misunderstanding that could have hurt the image of one very upright individual minister in the secular government of Akhilesh Yadav.

Here ends the story of Jagendra Singh. You won’t hear him telling his wild stories ever again. His Facebook page has not been updated since then.

His voice was not silenced. His freedom was not curbed. He did not need a press conference at the Press Club of India in Lutyens’ Delhi.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Abhishek Banerjeehttps://dynastycrooks.wordpress.com/
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or may not be an Associate Professor at IISc Bangalore. He is the author of Operation Johar - A Love Story, a novel on the pain of left wing terror in Jharkhand, available on Amazon here.  

Related Articles

Trending now

‘Degenerate’ Imran Khan does it again, blames women for rising sexual violence in Pakistan

Pakistan PM Imran Khan held women's clothes responsible for the sexual violence committed against them

India secures milestone in Coronavirus vaccination drive, administers over 82 lakh doses in a single day: Details

CoWIN app showed that Madhya Pradesh administered a whopping 13,71,180 lakh vaccine doses alone on Monday.

Sister Lucy was dismissed from Church by the Vatican for writing poems, driving a car: Read the startling claims made

The Vatican was also miffed after Sister Lucy wrote a memoir, hinting at sexual abuse with the Church clergy.

Calcutta High Court rejects Mamata Banerjee govt plea, NHRC to investigate post-poll violence in state

West Bengal government had applied to the court to recall the order passed by the court while hearing a bunch of PILs alleging assault including sexual abuse during post-poll violence in the state.

Amarnath Yatra cancelled amid Chinese coronavirus pandemic, devotees can do darshan online

The Amarnath Yatra, holy pilgrimage for Hindus, has often been a target of terror attacks in the past.

International Yoga Day: How ‘a way of life’ argument is used to peddle ‘Yoga is not Hindu’ propaganda

On International Yoga Day, motivated individuals attempted to appropriate Yoga and disassociate it from Hinduism.

Recently Popular

Republic TV issues statement over Arnab Goswami’s disappearance from the news network: Here is what they said

Arnab Goswami was last seen on May 2 during a discussion on West Bengal assembly polls. He will make a return on Monday.

Who is Vishal Jood? An Indian national arrested for taking on Khalistani extremists in Australia

Vishal Jood, the 24 yar old from Haryana, has been languishing in a jail in the down in the country for two months now.

Kerala madarsa teacher preaches “kill the ones who leave Islam” while taking online lecture for class 12 students

Kerala madarsa teacher caught encouraging class 12 students to take to violence against those who quits Islam as religion.

OBC benefits for Muslims: How WB Police’s recruitment drive has exposed how parties found a way to make religious reservations

The drive was meant to fill vacancies in the OBC-A category in the state. The list showed that apart from one or two individuals, all of them were Muslims.

How Venkatesh Prasad is winning hearts with his ‘Sanghi’ posts, one tweet at a time

Venkatesh Prasad demonstrated the Surya Namaskar for his followers, performed in deference to the Sun God.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

255,564FansLike
555,159FollowersFollow
24,400SubscribersSubscribe