Media is the real villain : Will the media and ‘others ask for similar justice for the accused of Unnao ?

Say no to Sexual Assault and Abuse Against Women

Media is the
real villain : Will the media and ‘others ask for similar justice for the
accused of Unnao ?

Unnao’s
rape survivor has just passed away
. The accused are well identified and arrested. There is
another Unnao horror story where the accused is well identified and for whom we
saw some marches in that city. So far, I am not hearing the same cries about hanging
the accused. The TV channels are not beaming the names of the accused. Nor are
we witnessing the candle light marches. Nor are we seeing cries of hand over
the culprits to the ‘Janata’ so that they can do the justice.

We all
are ‘shocked’ over the celebrations of the joy on the custodial killings of
four rape accused in Rangareddy district of Telangana.

More so, the
justification was coming through our political class as well as former police
officers who blamed the judicial delays for the same. It means, judicial delays
are ‘responsible; for the ‘bad’ performance’ of the police?

As I wrote
the other day, our political class and more than that the hegemonic savarna
class is ‘expert’ in manipulating facts and diverting the debate on any issue.

The story
and narrative built up to justify the custodial killing has two reasons : One
to cover up the failures of the state to protect women in public places and
second convert a horrendous tragedy into a ‘victory’ so that people do not
speak of improving legal system or speaking against the culture of misogyny.

Look at Nirbhaya, Kathua, Unnao and now
‘Disha” case

Look at the
uttering of media at different occasion. Compare all the arguments during Nirbhaya,
Kathua, Unnao and now ‘Disha” case
. The narratives are according to
the suitability of the hegemonic communities and not really to help support
women.

In Kathua,
the lawyers refused to fight for the girl, who happened to be a Muslim named
but neither High Court nor Supreme Court could take any cognigence of it.
Hindutva trolls were blaming ‘seculars’ for ‘defaming’ the Hindus.

In Unnao,
BJP was attempting to defend Kuldeep Singh Sengar till last moment. There were
no demands from the Karni senas and other senas to hand over the accused to
them so that they can do the instance justice.

In Disha
rape and murder case, the identity of a Muslim accused was revealed and used to
create a narrative and built up sympathy around that Muslims are the real
culprits while the fact was that among the four accused, three were supposedly
Hindus. But the question is why should the accused have any sympathy from us
except that they must face fair trial? But in reality, our sympathies and
solidarity depend on the ‘identity’ of accused or the victim.

Frankly
we are living in a hugely divided times and media is building the narrative
according to the comfort of its political masters and owners.

It is well
known fact that during the Nirbhaya debate too ‘individuals’ became the target
to cover up our institutional failures as well as the cultural prejudices. When
there are public protests, politicians know it well that the issue of women in
public places, cultural and religious practices, political environment will
come for public scrutiny and debate. Women’s openness is basically a threat to
the cultural biases in our society for which our political class as well as
those who gained from these prejudices, will never agree and hence the best way
is to highlight the issues where the offenders belong to poor and marginalised
sections, or mainly the Muslims but cover up when the offenders are Savaranas
or their big leaders or Babas are concern.

Look at the
’emotions’ when Asha Ram Bapu was arrested as rape accused. Mavericks like
Subrahmanyam Swamy said that it was a ‘conspiracy’ against the Hindus to defame
their ‘saints’ and Mahatmas.

In Kathua
they built up the same narrative and created all the hurdles against the woman
who was fighting the case for the girl. Her life became a horror story of
complete isolation from the rest of the society.

In the
entire scheme of things, the media is the real villain and playing the dirtiest
role.

Now after
the judicial killing of the Rangareddy rape accused, the media immediately went
to interview the family members of the victim who seemed to be ‘elated’ that
‘justice’ is done and now their daughter will ‘rest in peace’. Some other went
to Nirbhaya’s mother who too was elated. There were others too who spoke the
same language. Politicians spoke the same way. Police people who are engaged in
killings were given a ‘heroic’ welcome though if you see the entire photograph,
you will not find a single woman in these protests and celebrations.

Celebration
of the killing of the four accused is nothing but a serious crisis that we are
facing and the political media nexus is destroying sanity in this country. As I
said, these narratives are according to political suitability of the ruling
parties who continue to thrive on using the ‘identity’ of the accused to
polarise the social atmosphere. So, if the accused are Muslims or Dalits, then
their names would be everywhere and there will be protests asking the
government to handover them to public. If the accused are Savarnas, their names
are often not repeated or shown in the media. They are simply referred as
accused. We have no candle light marches in the street. There is no protest in
Unnao asking the accused to be handed over to public for an instance justice.
It is the ‘power’ of protests and ‘power’ of ‘media’ that decide who’s
narrative and story should be promoted and make a ‘national’ sensation
otherwise keep quiet or distort facts.

Mass rapes
and mass murders paid rich dividend to netas and political parties. Every time,
it is the minorities who are made the villain and victim. Delhi 1984, Gujarat
2002, Mujjaffarnagar 2013 are the stories of horror of our system but those who
supported and encouraged accused became our ‘leaders’ in the subsequent period
and the victims never got justice. Do we remember anything happened to Muslim
women in Surat and Mujjafarnagar? No, all those charges levelled by them are
neither highlighted nor taken seriously.

If police
became the judge, jury and executioner, then we don’t need a judicial system.

Can we ever
imagine the horror if such things are justified? It will the poor, the
marginalised, the minorities and the political opponents who will be victims of
executions and media will be there to report as an obedient servant. It will go
to those who ‘celebrate’ on your death and therefore you become the heroes.

This is
serious and the Supreme Court must take not of it. It is a deliberate attempt
by the media and politicians to justify these killings by putting the blame on
judiciary. The same media and political class use the judiciary to delay cases otherwise,
why the people of 1984, 2002, 2013 getting justice? Why we say ‘law will take
its own course’ when the offender belongs to powerful leaders and communities.

On 6th
December, we remember Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar but look at it.

On December
6th, 1992 they raged the place of worship in Ayodhya and therefore demolished
what our constitution stood for, providing religious freedom to all and
respecting it. Yesterday, we saw the Telangana police’s act of building up a
narrative around the custodial killings.

I repeat
again we have a cultural crisis.

Gender
sensitivity should be made part of curriculum from the very beginning and among
all the public institutions. Public places must be made safe for women but that
apart your homes and cultural spaces too need democratisation. Make police more
effective to investigation and the response should be quick on the call on
distress. No character assassination or ‘speeches’ in Thanas on why she was out
in night or whether she drink or smoke? Most importantly file charge-sheet on
time and send the cases to fast track cases and all this must be under a judge
who should not be transferred. We have seen many cases when the judges are
frequently transferred and that delays the cases.

We sincerely
hope that supreme court and NHRC will monitor this case so that in future such
lapses do not happen in the greater interest of justice. It is also important
that the police should not be allowed to close the case as all the accused as
well as the victims are now ‘dead’. The investigations must go on a faster pace
to know the real facts behind the case so that the findings are used to
strengthen safety of women in public places and guilty are truly punished. We
should also know whether these four had a criminal background or support of any
neta or policemen. Was there a bigger network of such gangs engaged in similar
things. Therefore, investigations in this case must continue and for the rest
of the country and media we will request to focus on the accused of Unnao. Will
we all cry for the similar punishment for them too as justice’ is done in Telangana?

Vidya
Bhushan Rawat

December 7th, 2019

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