A massive crackdown has been underway on supposed Naxal sympathizers in connection with the violence at Bhima Koregaon last year and an assassination plot to murder Prime Minister Modi. The residences of prominent ‘Civil Rights Activists’ have been raided and they have either been detained or arrested. Following the crackdown, there was a meltdown in the left-liberal camp and all its players scurried to blame the central government.
Post the meltdown, op-eds started being written eulogising the ones raided. One saw a concerted attempt to whitewash the crimes that those arrested have committed in the past. An impression is being created that the all the accused who have a history of arrest were arrested merely because of fake charges and that there was never any evidence of them having committed a crime.
One of the main people to be eulogised seems to be Vernon Gonzalves is a member of Communist Party of India (Maoist) and was convicted in 2007 by a Nagpur sessions court under the Arms Act, Explosives Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The Quint reports, “In 2013, Gonsalves was acquitted in 17 cases against him. He walked out of jail after spending nearly six years in various Mumbai prisons.”
The report attempts to create the impression that he was let out of jail in 2013 because he was found innocent and quotes him intensively to paint a picture of how he was falsely accused.
In reality, he was convicted in 2007 by a Nagpur sessions court under the Arms Act, Explosives Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) after the prosecution in the case asserted that nine detonators, 20 gelatin sticks, a walkie-talkie set, a computer, Naxal literature were seized from the duo in a raid in a chawl in Govandi, Mumbai.
While it is true that he was acquitted in 17 cases against him, he was allowed to walk out of jail only because he had already been incarcerated for the period he was sentenced.
With all due sympathies to Sagar Abraham Gonsalves, Vernon’s son, he has been spreading falsehood on Facebook regarding his father’s history. In a post, he writes, “After spending 5 and half years in jail, my father was acquitted in all cases. 5 and a half years of a person’s life was spent languishing in prison for crimes he had never committed. What a wonderful job the state had done.” That is patently untrue as has been described above.
His statement could have been ignored if outlets like Firstpost weren’t using it to create a wave of sympathy.
The selective quoting of facts to paint a convicted man as an innocent persecuted by the state in actuality plays right into the hands of the Naxal propaganda. The Ultras also choose to believe and aim to convince others, by violence or otherwise, that the Indian state is persecuting its citizens. The Naxal ‘movement’ is in fact rooted in the ideology that the government should be overthrown to be replaced with a government that conforms to the Naxal ideology. Media has somehow, become a knowing or unknowing participant in that seditious delusion.
The media and the intellectual elite have a habit of whitewashing the crimes of one of their own. Convicted for sedition, Binayak Sen was whitewashed as well, whitewashed enough to have the privilege of delivering a keynote address at an event at Tata Institute of Social Sciences and being in a committee for police reforms of the Aam Aadmi Party and was named a member of the government’s Planning Commission on health by the Congress party.
It is indeed bewildering that a man who has been convicted under Arms Act, Explosives Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) is revered by the media and the ‘civil society’ as a civil rights activist. Such venerated treatment of people with a history of conviction is one of the primary reasons why the mainstream media has lost all credibility.