Gauri Lankesh

MSM Fake News Monitor: Express on Akhlaq accused

Not a day passes when Indian Express doesn’t peddle in Fake News. The latest to catch my attention was on Sunday, the slug of which read: “Accused working with NTPC as contract employee.” (see pic).  This is with reference to a juvenile accused in the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq in a Dadri village two years ago.

Now who is the accused juvenile? Express doesn’t name him. Now how do they know it? There is another accused juvenile who said so to the newspaper. And what’s the name of this source-accused-juvenile? Express doesn’t name him either.

Maybe the newspaper is following the decent practice of not naming a juvenile till the charges against him is proved. (Never mind though the newspaper went to town in naming five “suspects”—or Sanatan Sanstha–for killing Gauri Lankesh which even the Special Investigating Team (SIT) know nothing about!).

NTPC promptly came up with an official rejoinder within a few hours of the Indian Express story. Pankaj Saxena, spokesperson for NTPC, Dadri, said as for juvenile accused being offered job “…none of them have been employed.”

This Express “rocket” had been launched on a carefully prepared communal ground. Express links the story to the BJP MLA of the constituency, Tejpal Nagar, for recommending a job. Recommending the job to the accused? No, but to the ‘bhabhi” of the accused! And is the “bhabhi” employed by the NTPC? No. Then who the hell is this accused juvenile who is working with the NTPC as contract employee about whom the newspaper has gone to the town? And about whom the BJP MLA is somehow projected as favouring in the background?

After naming BJP MLA Tejpal Nagar as favouring the family of this ghost-of-a-juvenile-accused, the Indian Express states that the NTPC hires locals “through a contractor, in this case an MLA.” A non-suspecting, gullible reader would immediately presume that Tejpal Nagar and this MLA are the same person. But “an MLA” is not “the MLA” and thus the Indian Express cleverly has covered its tracks, without dousing the insinuation.

In a rush to pull the wool over its’ readers eyes, Express doesn’t follow some basic journalistic principles. It makes no effort to explain what is an NTPC in this four-column story. NTPC is an acronym of National Thermal Power Corporation.

Predictably, Indian Express doesn’t carry the official rejoinder of NTPC in its today’s edition. May be it would in days to come or spin a new fantasy. The Fake Train of Indian Express keeps hurtling down its rubbery track at a breakneck speed every day without a care in the world for journalistic ethics or its paying readers or worrying about the censure from the Press Council of India. It remains un-derailed for the laws of this land have its hands full with the stains of a firecracker. Who has the time to be a vigilante on Holy Cows of Lutyens’ Media?

(Facebook has set out 10 tools to check Fake News. A few give-aways are headlines, source, evidence and photos. Indian Express on Thursday’s edition has been found out in peddling a Fake News).

 

Why Rajdeep Sardesai blocked me on twitter

(This is a reprint from NewsBred).

I found myself blocked on twitter by Rajdeep Sardesai today.

My tweets to him have never been abusive; rarely personal even though there is good enough reason to be so since we shared the same newsroom in the Times of India in the 90s. But I understand that the “Freedom of Expression” is not a two-way street. Stupid, we aren’t meant to practice what we preach.

Still, I was obliged, conscience-wise, to peek into his tweets of the last four days. No, I wasn’t looking for his sermons on illegal Rohingyas. Or if he is disparaging about Bullet Train. Or if he is in the pack of the wolves dancing around the embers of Demonetization. Or if their creativity is still on its feet in stitching “Sangh Parivar” with the murder of Gauri Lankesh.

All the above issues are meant to convey their concern for India. How their heart beats for India’s proud history of welcoming refugees. How India’s economic slide kicks them in the guts. How their souls are scorched at the fanciful waste of Bullet Train. How they die a thousand deaths at the plight of “independent” journalists in today’s India.

Surely, such “conscience-keepers” of the nation would have shed a tear at the demise of Arjan Singh, Marshal of the Indian Air Force, in the Capital on Saturday. I wanted to check on Sardesai, if he has extricated himself from the morass of mud-slinging and spared a thought for the departed hero.

But I found myself blocked by Sardesai!!!

So I did the next best thing. I turned to Sagarika Ghose, his wife. Surely, the woman who has a new biography on Indira Gandhi to her name and thus, by inference, had time to research many wars of the 60s and 70s, would remember late Marshal Arjan Singh and his legendary deeds.

But there’s not a single tweet from Ms Ghose! (There of course is a retweet but that’s like registering a presence in a funeral). It’s so much like Congis–with whom her family has had a roaring stand–who rarely have had a great respect for our military heroes.

Remember the death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw on June 27, 2008? The then present UPA dispensation in the Centre, were all missing from the funeral of India’s greatest military hero. Neither President Pratibha Patil, supreme commander of our armed forces nor Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; neither the then defence minister A.K. Antony nor the three Service chiefs attended Manekshaw’s funeral.

Manekshaw’s various run-ins with the Indira Gandhi could be the reason. I am not sure if Ms. Ghose has it mentioned in her book—those loyals who have read it must inform me. Or the book has the facts that the 1971 War hero’s status and dues were held up for decades. (It was only due to the initiative of former  President APJ Kalam that a cheque of Rs 1.3 crores was sent to the late Marshal on his deathbed.)

Next I logged on to Sitaram Yechury’s twitter account. He is another one who can’t see his beloved India going to pieces under the Modi regime. It’s another matter that those who protect India’s sovereignty are not quite sure of his time for them. He too wasn’t present, by all accounts, at Field Marshal Manekshaw’s funeral.

Yechury too hasn’t offered any condolence on Marshal Arjan Singh. All he has done is to question Modi government for its indifference to death of India’s “most senior serving military officer.” Indifference? Is the whining Communist leader indeed talking about Marshal Arjan Singh? Isn’t he aware that Arjan’s son Arvind Singh is overwhelmed at the present government’s response to his father’s death?

I next turned to two other Congress Seniors: Digvijaya Singh and Manish Tewari. The two have been much in news for their colourful vocabulary in public lately. Abusive like the drunk thugs you often find on the streets; with little association to decorative representative offices such as ones of former Chief Minister and Union Minister. Digvijaya predictably had no time for Marshal Arjan Singh’s death (does India-Occupied-Kashmir ring a bell?) And Manish Tewari? No prizes for guessing this one too.

You would expect these people to use Marshal Arjan Singh’s death as an opportunity to present their credentials as well-wishers of Indian army, and by inference India. They have often held the grouse that their patriotism has been questioned by Hindutava agents; that they are shown as anti-Indian armed forces. But doesn’t their lack of respect for Indian soldiers and heroes only confirm the impression?

Maybe they thought that Marshal Arjan Singh’s death has come at a wrong time. Only when they were going hammer and tongs against the Modi government, the death of war hero has allowed Modi to showcase his sincerity and respect for India armed forces.  Only, when they had Modi pinned to the wall—or so they thought.

What’s a career without credibility in public life? And what delusion, like a she-Hindi author who painted Modi-praisers as no better than asses in recent days? Better by asses than filth-loving pigs.

Oh yes, and if anyone could update me on Rajdeep Sardesai on Marshal Arjan Singh.