Friday, October 30, 2020
Home Opinions In Bengal, Media are Nero's guests

In Bengal, Media are Nero’s guests

A number of us have heard P. Sainath’s analogy relating to the Roman emperor Nero’s guests who continued enjoying the festivities, even as Nero used human prisoners as fuel for the flames that illuminated the party. The analogy applies equally well to Mamata Banerjee (as Nero) and some of her admirers in the mainstream media (her ‘guests’) who otherwise claim to ‘speak truth to power‘, but find it inconvenient to do so to the powers that be in West Bengal.

There is value in outrage – it highlights the red line beyond which the masses will move to action. Our media has remained deafeningly silent as Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress Party tested the limits of electoral violence, upping the ante in a phased manner. Panchayat polls in West Bengal had three distinct phases. In each phase, as the Media stayed silent, as no red lines were drawn, the violence escalated.

Phase one

Nominations. Nominations for the Panchayat were initially slated to end on 9th April. The opposition parties had to move the Supreme Court to make the nomination process safer. The Supreme court directed the parties to move Calcutta HC, which first stayed the entire election process and later extended the nominations to 23rd April. Effectively, the highest court of the land had to step in to make the simple process of nominations safer for 48650 Gram Panchayat seats, 9217 Panchayat Samiti seats and 825 Zilla Parishad seats.

The Media barely created a ripple apart from factually reporting the extensions ordered by the court. No prime-time debates. No outrage. No red lines are drawn. Contrast this with the minute by minute coverage of the midnight supreme court hearings on the matter of Yeddyurappa’s swearing-in on May 17th (Rajdeep was up past midnight giving sound bites on AajTak on the Mukul Rohatgi vs. Abhishek Manu Singhvi battle in court). Democracy was not dying in Karnataka but was indeed being murdered in West Bengal.

The result – On 30th April, West Bengal achieved the dubious record of the highest ever uncontested Panchayat seats – 34%. On 30th April, media mogul Rajdeep Sardesai was busy questioning the Central government’s 100% electrification claim, instead of putting the West Bengal government on the mat.

Phase two

Elections. With a lack of any red lines drawn up during the nominations phase, Mamata Banerjee’s electoral machine seemed to be encouraged to take it a notch higher on polling day on 14th May 2018. In what can be described as a complete breakdown of the law and order machinery, 13 people died on election day in West Bengal, amid rampant election violence. Nothing, it seemed was off-limits – Bombs, ballot box burning and the murder of voters out to exercise their franchise. While West Bengal burned, Ravish Kumar, who has in the past blacked out his screen to educate viewers about the deficiencies of journalism of other TV channels, on 14th May, chose ‘Delayed Trains‘ as the subject for his prime-time debate. Because train delays killed 13 people during election day in West Bengal?

Phase three

Results. Predictably, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress swept the Panchayat Polls, with BJP coming in a distant second place. However, winning wasn’t enough. Retribution was on its way. Abhishek Banerjee, the Chief Minister’s nephew thundered that Purulia would be made ‘opposition free’, and that he would personally make a visit to Purulia on the 1st of June, 2018. Purulia Gram Panchayat was one of the few where the BJP had trumped the Trinamool. In any respectable state with a semblance of law and order, the state security forces would have detained Abhishek Banerjee and put him under preventive arrest. The Media completely ignored the threat. Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt, Rana Ayyub, Sagarika Ghose, Nidhi Razdan & Sonia Singh cumulatively tweeted ZERO outrage about Abhishek Banerjee’s public threat.

On 30th May 2018, one day before the declared visit of Abhishek Banerjee, Trilochan Mahato a 20-year-old Dalit BJP worker was murdered, his lifeless body left hanging on a tree.

On 30th May, Nidhi Razdan of NDTV was busy debating the Karnataka Cabinet formation, Ravish Kumar was waxing eloquent on Banking strike and Rajdeep Sardesai was outraging over the tax on fuel. Dalit BJP worker Mahato’s death wasn’t prime time news.

On 30th May, Rana Ayyub was at the GENSummit in Lisbon where she received a standing ovation for ‘detailing the awful, persistent online harassment and abuse she’s received for her reporting in Modi’s India’. Trilochan Mahato was murdered and his body hanged by a tree for exercising his democratic right of participating in an election in Mamata’s Bengal. Rana Ayyub has not tweeted a word about Mahato. Mahato’s body was hung by a tree with a note scribbled on his T-shirt that said ‘For Doing BJP Politics’. The threat to Mahato wasn’t issued online. It was scribbled on his dead body. Mahato didn’t get a standing ovation.

The story of the decade has unfolded before the Media’s very eyes between April 9th and May 30th, and the Media chose to look away, giving the story, at best a cursory coverage. Nero’s guests.

Rajdeep Sardesai, who has in the past exhorted all of us to speak truth to power, has not yet anchored a prime-time debate inviting Mamata’s minters and questioning them on the killing of Trilochan Mahato. He has, however, questioned the opposition BJP for citing the caste of Trilochan Mahato and questioned the outrage on Twitter after Mamata’s dispensation whitewashed Trilochan’s murder as suicide. Nero’s guests.

There is a tangible price to inaction and a lack of outrage. Zero – That’s the number of arrests that have been made nearly a week after the brutal murder & public hanging of Trilochan Mahato. On 2nd June, Dulal Kumar, another BJP worker was found hanging by a pole in Purulia. On June 5th, Suvendu Adhikari, a minister in Mamata Banerjee’s government has vowed to make Malda opposition free.

In West Bengal, Bodies pile as Nero’s guests feast.

  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

Yossarian
Follow news by the hour. Agnostic, except on turbulent flights. Center right. ISB Alumnus.

Related Articles

Trending now

Congress MLA organises protest of thousands of Muslims against French President and his ‘Islamophobia’ after his citizens were beheaded for ‘blasphemy’

Congress MLA Arif Masood organised and led a protest supporting terrorism in the name of Islam that led to the beheading of Samuel Paty and others in France.

As Pakistan minister admits role in Pulwama attack, Rajdeep Sardesai rushes to his rescue, allows him to ‘clarify’, attack India instead, NDTV follows suit

India Today and NDTV come together to rescue Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry after he admitted Terroristan's role in Pulwama attack

Former PM of Malaysia goes from talking about women’s ‘secret place’ to inciting genocide for insulting Islam in single tweet thread: Read details

Mahathir Mohamad justified the attacks on French people by Islamist terrorist saying that mere boycott could not compensate the wrongs of France.

‘We are proud’: Terroristan admits hand in Pulwama attack, minister claims victory of people under leadership of Imran ‘Taliban’ Khan

"Humne Hindustan ko ghus ke maara", Pakistani minister Fawad Chaudhry described how Pakistan orchestrated Pulwama terror attack

After Nice, another Islamic terrorist shouting Allahu Akbar attacks France’s Avignon, guard at French embassy in Jeddah attacked too

Three attacks have been reported in a single day, Mayor of Nice in France asks people to unit against "Islamofascisim terrorist attack"

Mumbai police intensifies witch-hunt, now wants details that would give him almost unfettered access to the Republic TV newsroom: Read details

Mumbai police have demanded access to the newsroom of the channel including the contact details, addresses and login IDs of journalists.

Recently Popular

‘Modi, Modi’ slogans inside Pakistan National Assembly: Here is what happened

The name of PM Modi echoed on Monday as members of Pakistan's opposition members chanted 'Modi, Modi' slogans inside Pakistan National assembly

Chinese state-run channel shows the portrait of Prophet Muhammad, netizens ask if Muslim nations will boycott China

Arslan Hidayat, an Uyghur Rights Activist, took to Twitter shared a video of a Chinese TV series on Twitter in which it was depicted that an Arab ambassador visiting China during the rule of Tang dynasty gifts a portrait of the Prophet Muhammad to the Chinese emperor.

‘His legs were shivering, head was sweating fearing attack by India’: Pakistani opposition leader reveals why Imran Khan govt had released Abhinandan Varthaman

PML(N) leader Ayaz Sadiq said that Pakistani Foreign Minister had feared that India would attack Pakistan if Abhinandan is not returned

Watch: Pro-India accounts disrupt Pakistan’s anti-India online meeting on Zoom, play pro-Hindu and Indian nationalistic songs

Indic social media users caused embarrassment to Pakistani authorities and diplomats after they raided their online event on zoom

Here are ‘liberals’ who hailed Imran Khan’s benevolence for releasing Abhinandan, while he was shaking in his boots, thinking of Modi going to war

The usual suspects declared Imran Khan 'won' despite the fact that it was Indian Armed Forces that destroyed terror camps in Pakistan.

France: Three killed, reportedly beheaded by an Islamic terrorist shouting Allahu Akbar at a Church in Nice

Three people have died of which at least two are reportedly beheaded in a terrorist attack at Notre Dame Church in Nice, France.
- Advertisement -

Congress MLA organises protest of thousands of Muslims against French President and his ‘Islamophobia’ after his citizens were beheaded for ‘blasphemy’

Congress MLA Arif Masood organised and led a protest supporting terrorism in the name of Islam that led to the beheading of Samuel Paty and others in France.

Mumbai: French President’s posters pasted on road to be trampled upon after ‘blasphemy’ beheadings, Islamist Raza Academy lauds the act

Muslims in Bhindi Bazaar of Mumbai posted images of French President on the streets of the city, walked and drove on these posters as a mark of protest against Macron

AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan restrains NIA officials as they conduct raids at NGO headed by former Delhi Minorities Commission Chairman, FIR registered

Delhi police filed FIR against AAP legislator Amanatullah Khan for obstructing NIA officials from conducting raids in Jamia Nagar.

Bangladesh: Muslim mob beats Muslim man to death and then burn his body after rumours of blasphemy in a mosque

A man was lynched to death by a fanatic Muslim mob in Lalmonirhat district of Rangpur Division in Bangladesh over charges of blasphemy.

As Pakistan minister admits role in Pulwama attack, Rajdeep Sardesai rushes to his rescue, allows him to ‘clarify’, attack India instead, NDTV follows suit

India Today and NDTV come together to rescue Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry after he admitted Terroristan's role in Pulwama attack

The Print columnist Zainab Sikander Siddiqui wants Charlie Hebdo to have the “guts” to mock the Holocaust if it wants to publish cartoons on...

Zainab Sikander Siddiqui ruled that Charlie Hebdo cartoons mocking other religions are not offensive, only cartoons on Islam are offensive

NBSA summons Zee News editor Sudhir Chaudhary for “divisive” report on the different types of Jihad, says it targets the Muslim community

NBSA asked Zee News Editor-in-chief Sudhir Chaudhary to appear for a hearing on November 26 via video conferencing

Former PM of Malaysia goes from talking about women’s ‘secret place’ to inciting genocide for insulting Islam in single tweet thread: Read details

Mahathir Mohamad justified the attacks on French people by Islamist terrorist saying that mere boycott could not compensate the wrongs of France.

AajTak, Zee News and others apologise after NBSA pulls up the channels for spreading fake news on Sushant Singh Rajput’s death

AajTak, Zee News and India TV air apology for its insensitive and sensationalised reporting of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death

India objects to Saudi Arabia over distorted map of India on new 20 Riyal banknote, asks to take urgent corrective steps

India registered objection over a distorted map showing Jammu and Kashmir separated from India in newly released 20 Riyal banknote

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
471,184FollowersFollow
19,500SubscribersSubscribe