The unmitigated harassment, victimisation, terrorising and killing practice of journalists in various parts of the country goes unabated with scribes in their line of duty compelled to live in the environment of fear and apprehension. While in some cases criminals n professional supari killers execute the diabolical murders of the progressive journalists on the directives of forces of religious fanaticism n bigotry, in some other cases the influential ones’ under fear of being exposed by the revelations of investigative journalist order the killings.
But in both the cases money power is involved and hands of blessings of the powerful is always a significant factor. But what if the police authorities who are supposed to be the custodian of law and order, on whose shoulders lye the responsibility to protect the people, themselves become hooligans and behave worst than criminals. On last Sunday, the 24th September the erroneous police officers in Kerala’s Varkala town allegedly assaulted and thrashed a journalist Sanjeev Gopalan and stripped him naked in front of his wife and daughter.
The victim 49 year old journalist’s fault was that he few months ago exposed the ill doings of some corrupt policemen through a story printed in a local newspaper. This shocking incident unambiguously indicate that any journalist in the country, particularly in KERALA is not entitled or eligible to expse the bad doings or corrupt activities of the policemen whether they are high ranking officers or an ordinary Sepoy and if he or she (journalist) is bold enough to do his duty as a free and fearless journalist, not only will he/ she be subjected to physical assault but would also be stripped either publically or in front of the family members.
Shocking and disgusting indeed. What makes things even worse when we find the police authorities showing little or no interest in grabbing the killers or assaulters of the journalists unless there is a massive outrage or coverage in the media. Sounds anguishing that except a very negligible few the police all over the couldn’t make much headway in bringing a single killer to justice in a decade or so during which over 70 journalists have been killed and around 146 injured, majority of them grievosly. In just two months time four journalists have been despicably killed in Bengaluru, Bihar, Tripura and Punjab namely Gauri Lankesh, (Editor LANKESH PATRIKE), Prashant Mishra (Rahtriya Sahara), Shantanu Bhowmik, ( Reporter of electronic channel DIN RAAT) and Mr. Singh(News editor INDIAN EXPRESS, (retd). All the above murders took place in the non BJP states.
This is a warning signal for investigative journalists in particular whose lives are always at stake usually while in the line of duty. The government should devise a specific legislation ensuring strictest punishment for the culprits compounded with safety measures and strong financial compensation for the survival of the family of the deceased scribe.