(Also Appeared in Northern India Patrika On January 07, 2014)
The suicide by a prominent social activist Khursid Anwar, executive director of NGO Institute for Social Democracy and also a JNU scholar, has given rise to some pretty disturbing questions. Khurshid Anwar allegedly committed suicide in the aftermath of rape allegation by a Manipuri lady. This news got flashed on several news channels, followed by intense discussion on several social media networking websites including Facebook. Unable to bear this unwarranted media trial, this well known social activist committed suicide by jumping from his third floor residence in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, on December 18, 2013. As per suicide note found at his home it was not a rape but consensual sex.
This tragic incident reminds me of suicide committed by Sriniwas Siras, who happened to be a professor at Aligarh Muslim University. In this particular case, news channels were found guilty of invading his privacy by making public his homosexual affair in blown out of proportion way. The professor was granted relief by the Allahabad High Court, but he was not able to cope up with harassment in the form of bizarre media coverage. That made him to end his life. Of late, courts have regularly come up with strict reminders for media channels not to indulge in media trials when the case is in its trial phase. However, influential media houses have always adopted care-a-damn, leading to mockery of the sensitivity involved in any issue under trial. It’s true that need to control media trial remains a complicated issue but it’s an undisputed fact that there is no dearth of cases, wherein sensational media trial caused irreparable damage to one’s reputation. The media has always taken for granted “rights of the accused” and it’s high time to make clear demarcation between accurate reporting and reporting done with malicious intent to increase the sale or ensure high TRP ratings.
“Sensational reporting will take place because sensational incidents keep happening in India. The Supreme Court will not be able to stop it. Yes, reporting must be accurate. But to say it amounted to trial by media is only a pejorative expression. Neither the court nor any one has provided parameters to define what constitutes trial by media.” (Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan in The Times of India) However, media’s pervert justification of its breach of privacy and rights of accused would never be enough to clear the huge mess caused by its unwanted intervention. Two lives of reputed individuals came to meet untimely end because of media trial. Can it bring them back to life? Can it restore the loss of reputation?
In fact, senior journalist Saeed Naqvi has framed a perfect perspective regarding media trail: ” There is a tendency in journalism – it convicts a person on the day allegation is leveled against him, even before the court convicts him. That is sad. How can media reach a conclusion so quickly and start showing one as an accused? At least, it should wait for lodging of an FIR, completion of investigation” (DNA News Report) It’s really amazing that media always never takes into account serious repercussions involved in unfair trial. Is “mental trauma and public humiliation” in the wake of seriously flawed “media trial” is thing of lesser concern? It’s so evident in media trials that reporting is misleading and one-sided with scant respect for cross-checking of the facts.
This whole issue involves two other serious concerns. The first one brings to the fore love of the society to reach at conclusions in one go with a prejudiced mindset. It loves to criticize or, for that matter, endorse any issue even if there are no concrete material evidence to support its beliefs. The other aspect involves abuse of laws meant to protect sexual harassment of women. It’s simply not an issue pertaining to rights of men that laws meant to protect women have lead to harassment of innocent men. It’s so pathetic that moment an issue involving sexual harassment of women gets highlighted, the media enters in caricature of the accused, portraying him guilty. Worse, if you analyze the laws meant to prevent sexual harassment of women, it’s evident that men are virtually assumed to be guilty. Tragically, the attempt of the accused to prove himself innocent becomes further bleak in wake of such pervert media trials.
“The disconcerting answer is that it will not matter. In India, and several other countries where laws have been passed to punish crimes against women, the burden of proof has been consciously reversed: it is the accused who has to prove his innocence. This reversal is bad in principle, but probably necessary to create a level playing field for women in cases pertaining to sex crimes. But the new rape law has carried the reversal to a point where, if implemented as drafted, it will defeat the very purpose of justice . For once a man is accused, it leaves him with no way whatever of proving his innocence.” (Senior Journalist Prem Shankar Jha in The Times Of India)
In nutshell, both society and media have lost the ability to be governed by reason and logic. Both of them have given way to pervert pleasure of playing havoc with the dignity and reputation of individuals. However, it’s baffling that even legal jurisprudence appears to have adopted same line of action, more so in cases involving sexual harassment of women. It’s time for everybody to upheld logical thinking over thinking governed by rash emotions. That’s essential to stop the fragmentation of society, to create a value-oriented society.
Activist Khurshid Anwar’s suicide: Was media trial responsible?
AMU’s ‘gay’ prof commits suicide
SC Mudgal, New Delhi, said:
Actually this is a slap on the current laws of crimes against women and media increases the graveness of these laws….
Yes, that’s the real cause…The biased laws seems to have emboldened women the wrong way!!!
Swarup Sarkar, SIFF, New Delhi, said:
History has proved this beyond doubt that draconian laws cannot give justice to anyone. They only kill innocent people! Ironically, many innocent people have paid a heavy price for sleeping against legal terrorism in India via 498a dv; crpc125, and now biased rape laws.
First have my wishes on new year…Glad that at least you said something after reading my post …Coming to your view, the only way out to get above this state-sponsored war is to keep adding real facts to checkmate blatant lies spread by agents of State ( read Satan)!!
Mra Amit Patil, Mumbai, said:
Kurshid danced a lot in December 2012 for strong rape laws & digging his own grave. Exactly one year later he jumped to his death .
Well, biased laws leave no one..
Anirudh, Mumbai, said:
Now Justice means business whether it is men or women. Judiciary and lawyers, police, politician minting money by disrupting family by anti men laws like section 498A. It is nothing, but tyrannical state….
…..And paid mainstream media makes justice a distant dream by echoing vain sentiments of feminist groups….
Many thanks to these readers who had a quick look at this post immediately after its publication:
Nikhil Garg, Noida, Uttar Pradesh; Himansu B.Pandey, Siwan, Bihar; Krishna Kumar Tripathi, Indore, Madhya Pradesh; Swati Kurundwadkar, Bangkok, Thailand; Amartya Talukdar, Kolkata, West Bengal; Matt Dickinson; Shubhankar Chaudhuri, USA; Marcos Diario; Yogesh Pandey, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh; Manoj Joshi, BJP Leader, Udaipur, Rajasthan; Manish Sharma, New Delhi; Ritiwik Bisaria; Prakash Thakare, Nagpur, Maharashtra; Kunal Sinha, USA; Chandrodaya Shakya, Nepal; Rupam Chakraborty,Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh; Rekha Pandey, Mumbai; Kripa Shankar Pandey, Mumbai; Gaurav Vyas, Ahmedabad, Gujarat; Mra Men Seek Justice, Banglaore. Karnataka; Anand Bankar, Nagpur, Maharashtra; Mhra Leander Pallat, Bangalore, Karnataka; Danny O’Moore, Adelaide, South Australia; Dr. Ashok Gupta, Pedratician, Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh; Manjoy Laxmi, Nagpur, Maharashtra; Sachin Dezine; Prince Mittal and Nita Pandey, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Ian Shalapata, Windsor, Canada:
Your assessment and argument is precisely accurate. One needs to ask if the risks of false accusations are acceptable is the wake of the larger picture.
In the West, false accusations are a miniscule fraction of the whole.
Laws are meant to punish the offenders, not to harass and torture innocent people. That’s almost equal to state-sponsored legal terrorism. When you frame the laws in such a way that accused virtually loses all rights to defend himself is there any merit in speaking about having justice from the rules of law?
Deewaker Pandey, New Delhi, said:
The general mentality is still that only women can b sexually harassed..That’s why people try to take unfair advantage of it…
This “general mentality” needs to be changed with “reality as it is”!!!
Jade Davis, USA, said:
You make some very astute observations and analysis, Arvind. There are some very good reasons why the identity of a man accused of rape should be concealed by the authorities and the media until after trial.
Thanks for your appreciation…Law believes that you are innocent until proven guilty. Rape laws have reversed this aspect. Now you are guilty until proven innocent!!!!
Peter Webb said:
Name them both. They want equaliteeeeee……
It’s sickening that dignity of men during trials of such cases holds scant respect.
Pankaj Chelawat, Raipur, Chattisgarh, said:
Aise kitne hi tamache media ke log roj khane ke liye taiyyar rehte hai because isse hi unki family ko standard lifestyle aur samaaj me respect milti hai aise suicide is sab ke aage bahut chhote hai….
मीडिया जबसे मिशन से प्रोफेशन हुआ ये भी एक धंधा बन गया….
Media misusing their power ….Innocents are committing suicide… TRP ke liye humanity bhool gai….
It’s a sad state of affairs..
Mra Men Seek Justice, Bangalore, Karnataka, said:
Thanks Arvind K Pandey .. please keep writing ….
Definitely :-)…Glad that you had a look at it…
Gaurav Vyas, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, said:
D.V.; 498; 497; 128; 304 its all the same give us your money or we make your family suffer. I guess bin laden was good at least people knew who he was…
True…Legal terrorism is suffocating…
Nikhil Garg, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, said:
Nikhil Garg Arvind, we need to understand that women have always been at the receiving end for ages…. No denying the fact, scenario has changed, so laws need amendment and our outlook towards the accused too…
“Arvind, we need to understand that women have always been at the receiving end for ages.”…Who told you so? It’s a holy crap sponsored by feminists…It’s a lie which has got stuck in our consciousness. The truth is exactly opposite: They have always been a protected lot eliciting more than greater share of love and care..Today what’s happening is diabolical..They use traditionalism when it comes to suit their interest ( for instance when they need protection) and when it comes time to reap the fruit of modernity they become absolutely modern! They cannot have it both way…Did you get it my friend?
Well I don’t agree to it much…. Modernism prevails in cities…… Mass of the population dominating the world is men…. That’s how I have seen and perceived the environment…..
” Mass of the population dominating the world is men..” …Then I must say you are still in dark about the real constituents of societies across the world as well as elements gone into making of female psyche…Your arguments are flawed, unrealistic and nothing but manifestation of popular sentiments. No point in arguing any further because it’s better that I leave you to witness the ramifications of your sentiments than I try to convince via my own arguments.
Anyway, look at your arguments:
Modernism prevails in cities…Have you ever been in Indian village? ( I have not only been in Indian village but I also live there)..Not only modernism exists there but women are more empowered than men!!
” Mass of the population dominating the world is men..? Although it’s not true but still if I take this statement on its face-value why does this rattle you? So what should be the scenario? Reverse the whole dynamics? Okay. Let’s create level field society but have modern societies like ones in USA or Britain, who sponsored this myth of women’s oppression and inequality have attained this equality? And what about the irreparable damage caused in the whole role reversal? Fatherless societies, high divorce rates, wayward teenagers etc. Considering that both male and females are diametrically opposite in all terms how is this equality going to be achieved? And what exactly do we mean when we say we are going to create equality? Is this equality possible other than asking males to lick the boots of females and live as per whims and fancies of females ( which in fact always happened considering libido of males)? Males have always been fools and that’s why today they have become helpless creatures in face of new emerging shrewd females who are fu**ing them from both ends. And do you think our fore fathers were fools when they carved certain responsibilities that you need to absolutely reverse them in name of gender equality? You need to understand well the term “gender equality” with an open mind, and not with a mind brainwashed by concepts promoted by feminists and mainstream media!! Men have always dominated is a lie. The lesser heard truth is that they have always been killed and exploited since ages fulfilling demands of females -the thankless female breed always using men for their selfish ends!!!
Nikhil Garg, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, said:
Well, I am accepting the arguments right now….. Will revert back some other time…. The way you have portrait the picture, is not full fledged true….. Still, I am taking it all!!!
Shivank Mehra, Goa, said:
We are living in mob rule fueled by media. The feminists gather into mobs, the media gives them coverage, and ridiculous laws get passed. If the laws are not gender-neutral, they are gender-discriminating. Feminism is an eye-wash movement.
That’s the ultimate reason…