A Tale of Two Men

July 31, 2010

The headlines read “Modi’s man arrested”. The front page is filled with details of his involvement in the alleged fake encounter case. An unsuspecting reader sympathizes with the presumed innocent Sohrabuddin. This reader like many others believes that the news is carried on just the front page and any effort to dig inside the dozens of sheets will reveal nothing more than dull and saucy advertisements. And he misses a small report on Page 18 where it is mentioned that Sohrabuddin was an extortionist, that he was booked in the sensational Jharnia arms plot, that he had murdered a fellow gangster, that he had tormented the rich traders. I wondered if the leading dailies had run out of space to an extent that they could not prefix ‘gangster’ to his name on the front page headline.

At the same time, I was reminded of the drama over Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal and conviction in connection with Delhi carnage that coincided with completion of the silver jubilee of his successful evasion of the law of land. Media reports on his alleged misdeeds were very objective without any trace of an effort to demonize him. 

These events bring two very important questions to my mind. Why is Amit Shah being referred to as ‘Modi’s Man’ while Sajjan Kumar has never been honored as ‘Rajiv’s Man’? Why a gangster’s killing is being subjectively brooded over by concealing his criminal credentials while the demand for justice by scores of law abiding citizens is being ignored for over two decades and a half?

Both the media and the Corrupt Bureau of Intimidation (CBI) are to blame in my opinion. If both of them are found guilty of their respective charges, then even to a prejudiced eye, Sajjan Kumar would appear a much bigger criminal to Amit Shah. But alas, media is resorting to selective reporting and CBI to intimidation under pressure from the quarters who see an able contender in Modi. Cases, arrests, enquiries and commisions have all been rendered as shrewd moves in the game of political chess!

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