Just as I was rejoicing about the freedom of expression in India and condemning the condition in Pakistan over the murder of slain journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad(SSS) and how that country in chaos in my previous blog posts, Bang came the news of the murder of Senior investigative journalist working for Mid-Day, Jyotirmoy Dey (J Dey) who was shot in broad daylight in Powai, a posh locality in Bombay (yes I am going to call it Bombay whatever Shiv Sena says). It made me wonder that are our journalists safe? Or Are we like those banana republics like Pakistan and Iraq where dead journalists are commonplace!
What’s the difference? SSS exposed the alleged links of Pakistan Navy officials with Al Qaida while J Dey wrote some biting articles on the Diesel smuggling racquet and the Oil Mafia of Bombay. The result; both were brutally murdered. The media plays the most important role in a democracy and such acts of curbing the freedom of media by killing honest journalists is equivalent to curbing democracy. And now under the scanner is the assistant police commissioner Anil Mahabole who is said to have got J Dey killed through his underworld contacts after he learnt that J Dey was reportedly collecting some incriminating evidence about his underworld connection and his involvement in corruption cases. And the irony is that the Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik said in the condolence meet to other journalists that they all should work fearlessly the way Dey did and need not worry about their safety. He further assured them that police was there to take care of their safety. He further added that if a journalist cannot be given a fearless environment to work in, He should not be able to wear the police uniform. Is this not a joke? n one hand an assistant commissioner is suspected to be behind the killing and on the other hand the Commissioner assures the media personnel that police is there for their safety and they should not worry. But still what can police do? It can’t go behind every journalist to ensure his/her safety, but it can surely get them killed through its underworld contacts, Then what is the difference between ISI and Mumbai Police?
Meanwhile the police has not yet got any clue about the murderers but a vague sketch of the gunman obtained through a CCTV camera of a nearby bank. Such pitiable is the condition of police, and the fact that the spot of murder was a walking distance from the nearby police station adds up to one conclusion: No one is safe in Bombay, and when a citizen’s physical security cannot be guaranteed by the State, then that State has forfeited its right to govern. With such incidents can a journalist report fearlessly? And most important, can a common man assume he is safe in a badass city like Bombay under the police?
(picture courtesy: dnaindia.com)