Archive for the ‘Chidambaram’ Category

Endless Ricochet of News Creation.

23 January 2010
Joseph John of Indian Express reports from Raipur in a boxed item carried on page 2 of the Pune edition on 23rd January 2010.
P Chidambaram is reported to have asked a rhetorical question, “Which ideology kills children?”; and then he goes on to strongly condemn the Maoists for killing two children in the Bastar region. His question is poignant. It begs an answer. If it is true, then killing 2 innocent, non-combatant school-going (as reported by some) children is most cowardly and repugnant act by Maoists. Chidambaram also rubbishes what he says is the propaganda unleashed at the international level against the joint operations. He may be correct in his assessment. But then doesn’t it devolve upon him in such an atmosphere of distrust to substantiate this charge with relevant details. At least the newspaper reporters should have sought the details of the incident from him. Bastar is a vast region. Where exactly did the incident happen – place, police station, district etc? When did it happen? How did the incident come to light? What are the names of the children, their ages, parents? Where did the autopsy take place? Of course, Chidambaram is not a Police Inspector, but at least he could have been asked from whom he had got his information and who could provide relevant details. All such routine questions that the reporters ask even in accident or murder cases should then have been asked of the official so named. Operations against Maoists on such a large and coordinated scale are a major political and economic decision. Serious misgivings have been expressed by many in this regard. It was incumbent on the fourth estate to raise these questions and then provide at least some details.
This apparently has not been done. Such a brazen attitude of making charges without substantiation does not sit well with a professedly democratic government, whose duty it is to inform people and solicit their support. It also unnecessarily gives rise to charges that government is indulging in baseless propaganda to further its hidden agenda. This vitiates the whole atmosphere. Even now government can provide relevant facts, which it should let journalists and concerned citizens to verify independently. This would augment its stature and improve credibility. Otherwise people would find it hard to trust anything that government says or does even when it is telling the truth.

When one googles this query, one would get many responses – but each one is a near identical copy of the other. The whole cyber space is filled with its monotonous ricochet :

This goes on and on.  News is created. FACT is born. TRUTH shines. Is this how government functions?
Again I concede that what Chidambaram said may be the truth, and nothing but the truth. But it needs to be substantiated, having near the same standard of proof as in a court of law. Not only this case, but every case, every charge, needs to be substantiated and verified independently. Then, and then alone, Indian government will be able to convince the people that truth is on its side.

Which ideology arms children? For an answer, see the photograph below that Amit Basole took when he visited Vanvasi Chetna Ashram between 14th to 17th December 2009. 


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