A journalist, Ram Krishna, working at India Today Group’s Hindi news channel organisation Aaj Tak has made shocking revelations about the harassment meted out to him by his editor Panini Anand. According to Krishna, he has been subjected to abuses, threats of violence and death by Anand for simply asking for an appraisal and turning down his request to write negative things about Modi government on the social media websites.
“You are an insect and I will do whatever I wish to. I will give responsibilities to donkeys and promote them because their ideology matches with mine. However, I will bring you to the streets and ruin your family. If you don’t mend your ways, I will beat you with shoes and get you murdered. Your corpse will be eaten by dogs. Neither Modi nor BJP will come to your rescue,” Panini Anand had reportedly threatened Krishna.
Ram Krishna accuses his editor Panini Anand of sabotaging his journalistic career
These shocking statements came from Panini Anand, an editor of a renowned media house Aaj Tak. According to the journalist Ram Krishna, this conversation happened when he had called Anand one night, asking him why was he being removed from the Whatsapp group. Anand had then reportedly made such crass remarks to Krishna.
Ram Krishna has been employed with Aaj Tak since 2017. Recently, he has shared his ordeal with PM Modi, writing a letter addressed to the PMO office. While talking to OpIndia, Ram Krishna told that his earlier editors conducted themselves with dignity, unlike Anand. He also added that the working environment was also pleasant before he got to work with Anand and everyone was allowed to pursue the stories they liked.
However, the work culture sharply deteriorated after Panini Anand took over, Ram Krishna alleges. Journalists were made to write critical articles against the Modi government. Those who obliged remained close to Anand. Others, who opposed undue intervention, were being subjected to abuse. Krishna alleges that he has also been called as a “Bhagwadhari” many times, however, he added that though his ideology aligns with one of the political parties, he has never let it reflect in his work.
Panini Anand and Vijay Rawat forced their juniors to publish articles against Modi government
Journalist Ram Krishna confessed that in the start just like the others, he too ignored everything and focused on salvaging his job. Krishna also attended some of the parties thrown by Anand at his residence. But after some point, he started having problems with this behaviour of his editor and he refused to go to parties and Anand’s diktat of writing against the Modi government.
When he raised his objection to write articles to deliberately show the Modi government in the bad light, he was sidelined and his salary and promotion withheld.
Krishna said that he had been a lifelong teetotaller but he consumed alcohol twice so as to not annoy his editor. As per Krishna, Panini used to call his favourite employees at his home for parties. Recounting an incident, Krishna said that one of his companions was thrashed by the editor’s favourites in one of such parties. But Anand remained silent.
Another serious allegation that Ram Krishna has levelled against Panini Anand and Vijay Rawat is that they encouraged employees to run propaganda against the Modi government. They would ask their employees to make critical remarks against PM Modi on their social media accounts. Many a times fake social media accounts were prepared to run such propaganda, Krishna revealed. When people tried to oppose such unethical activities, they were threatened with dismissals and death threats.
People with leftist ideology were promoted by Panini Anand and Vijay Rawat: Ram Krishna
According to the journalist, it is common for Panini Anand and Vijay Rawat to mistreat people who did not conform to their ideology. The appraisal criterion was not dependent on one’s work but on one’s ideological inclination. Those who complied with their instructions, they were handed promotions and appraisals. Those who did not, their promotions were stalled and appraisals deferred.
Krishna also recalled about the incident when his colleague was not denied leaves even when his health deteriorated. It was later revealed that the journalist had coronavirus, which led to his death. Krishna feels profoundly sorrowful for his colleague’s predicament, adding that he worked till a few days before his death.
Panini has also been accused of making false promises by Krishna. The journalist claimed that after his promotion and appraisal were stopped, he had managed to grab a new job in another organisation. However, Panini coaxed him into staying at AajTak, promising him that he will get appraisal and promotion. A lot of time passed after that, but there was no increment in his salary. When he asked again, he got the answer that unless you please Vijay Rawat (Senior Assistant Editor), it is unlikely that he will get an appraisal.
Ram Krishna works as a senior sub-editor at Aaj Tak. According to him, he clocks anywhere close to 17-18 hours daily for his work. He alleges that anyone who does not conform to the ideology of the editor and senior assistant editor at the organisation, is persistently harassed such as forced to work in odd shifts, asked to accomplish pressurising tasks etc.
Tired out of harassment from his seniors, Ram Krishna writes a letter seeking intervention from PM Modi
Now, Krishna believes that Panini and Vijay Rawat want him to declared as deranged and can even get him killed. His family is anxious about him. Ram Krishna is a married man and his wife has recently given birth to a child. His financial situation is precarious as the loan amount has swelled due to shortage of money.
However, Krishna has been deliberately targeted, mostly recently by expelling him from his work Whatsapp group. When he asked reason for the action, he was abused instead. He was then expelled from another group and his ID was disabled, which he used to work with.
Tired of the harassment by his seniors, Ram Krishna has penned a letter to the PMO, detailing the hardships suffered by him. Krishna claimed that he had to write a letter to the PMO because his numerous complaints to the seniors in his organisations have fallen on deaf ears. With his options rapidly shrinking, Krishna thought that writing to PMO can help him salvage his journalistic career, that was imperilled by the whims and fancies of his seniors.
Panini Anand refutes allegations
Refuting the allegations on himself, Panini Anand alleged that Ram Krishna was fired from AajTak due to indiscipline and carelessness in his work. “All the accusations made by Ram Krishna in this story are baseless, gibberish and unprecedented, and these hold no truth whatsoever. While firing him the organisation took care of the due process. The words spread out by Ram Krishna are malafide and targeted. Editor has only provided help and encouragement during this time. These kinds of accusations are baseless and unfortunate,” he said in a statement.
The entire letter written by Ram Krishna to PM Modi can be read here. The PMO has taken cognisance of the matter and an investigation has been launched, which is presided over by a DCP level officer in Noida.