Yesterday, a 41 year old journalist from Dainik Jagran made the headlines. He probably would have been the most searched name or word in Google, yesterday. The media was abuzz with his photos and interviews flashing on all channels.
The reason – Jarnail Singh, a senior journalist threw one of his shoes at the Home Minister of India, P Chidambaram. It seemed too good to be true.
But then it reminded me of the Zaidi, a journalist who became a national icon in Iraq and neighboring countries for having thrown a shoe at George Bush. If that’s not all, there are people who offered incredible rewards to this pseudo hero included huge sums of cash, daughter for marriage, land, citizenship etc.
Similarly the so called representation of the Sikh community, the Youth Wing of The Shiromani Akali Dal, offered Jarnail singh Rs.2 lakhs and several others offering their support in some form or the other. This, in retaliation to the injustice meted to the Sikh community for having acquitted the likes of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, who were supposedly involved in the massacre of the Sikhs after the Indira Gandhi assassination in 1984.
Now coming to my point of view on this whole episode of the Sikhs protesting and the government in a mode of silence over the entire issue.
This is definitely a blotch in an otherwise illustrious administration. Whether it is for the court to decide or not or if CBI has completely exonerated Mr. Jagdish Tytler, the Congress should have taken a stance that Tytler is in the center of all this harakiri and hence should not be an electoral candidate for them in the forthcoming elections. There is no denying the fact that the courts look at hard evidence and in this case they seem to have ruled out despite an NRI, Jasbir Singh, coming forward as an eye witness.
Whether justice has prevailed or not is a matter of contention and time will be a witness to that – as there are several faces to this coin, what has really shocked me is the level at which the journalistic standards have been stooping down, in recent times.
That Jarnail Singh apologised unconditionally, speaks high of him and his ethical standards but on the same coin, the incident should have never happened and this country should never have witnessed something like that. It is unforgettable and unforgivable by any standards.
Take the instance of Zaidi – The very next day he was taken into custody and put behind bars for 3 years (Now I hear his punishment has been reduced to a year) speaks high of the standards that even a wounded country like Iraq follows. And here we are, letting him off just because there is an emotional crowd backing him.
I am surprised that Jarnail Singh has not been booked under any charges. I definitely understand the sentiments of the Sikhs and I respect that. Having said that, Jarnail Singh, to me is an Indian first and a journalist next…nothing beyond that. This whole episode has been so much politicized that bad behavior went unnoticed which indirectly is a sign of encouragement. I will not be surprised if very soon you would see others too resorting to such cheap tactics without the fear of being punished
If Indian media and those who manage the law and order in the country do not resort to punishing the guilty when there is ample evidence, it will only further wreck the already weakened judiciary system of our country.
Understood he was emotional, his adrenalin was pumping and that he cares for his community. But then who doesn’t ? Ask the friends and relatives of the scores of Hindus or Muslims who died in communal riots or the Godhra incidents, weren’t they emotional too.
A majority of the criminals are also a victim of high level of adrenalin rush…If they can be punished, why should Jarnail Singh be spared?
Whatever said and done, the bottom line is that in India the standards of journalism has decreased significantly in recent times. We have seen in the case of the 26/11 coverage, some failed and pseudo sting operations and now this. Not sure if it was ever like this or is it coming to limelight only now.
True journalism seems to have paved way for neo journalism or better still call it Jarnailism, for the lack of a better word. They are definitely condemnable and sometimes punishable, too. What say you ?
Image Credit: Dubswede