THE meanness and absolute lack of human kindness that the UPA government revealed in the handling of the gruesome rape of the 23-year-old girl in Delhi and her subsequent death is nauseating and shameful. The government did not even offer her the basic courtesy of a decent cremation, sneaking her body to the crematorium where her helpless parents performed the rites. Only a few days ago the government had done such a hush-hush with another body – that of terrorist Kasab.
It has now come into the open that the girl was shifted out of Safdarjung Hospital only because the government wanted to shirk the blame of her death. There are various claimants to this clever idea. But it is sad that a senior doctor like Naresh Trehan put his professional credentials at stake to advise the government on this devious move. Step into the street and strike a conversation with anyone. They all would say the same thing. That taking her to Singapore was a drama, to hoodwink the public about the government’s sincerity. Most people believe that the girl had died and she was airlifted and brought back only to cheat the public. So low is the image of the government in the public eye that they are willing to believe the worst of it.
What is equally sad is the timid role played by the media, which was used by the government to hide behind. All the channels covered the young girl’s tragedy without once breaking the shroud of mystery spread by the government. It is true that according to law the identity of the girl should not to be revealed. But the law does not stop the media from inquiring into the government’s lapses. Not one doctor from the team attending on the girl at Safdarjung came to defend the decision to airlift the critical girl on a three-hour journey. Nor did the media try to get any views and expose the motive behind the decision—that it was political and not medical. The whole day, the channels were running chat shows, airing opinions and opinions, sheer soundbites with different sets of people. In Singapore too, the media played coy and gave sufficient publicity to the five-star hospital by repeatedly showing its façade and posh corridors.
When the girl was declared dead, as was expected by several people, her body was flown in the night and “received” by the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Media was unaware of the move, it was claimed, so clinically precise were the operations by the Delhi Police. If only the police showed half this efficiency in their jobs for which they are paid! Later reports in the newspapers claimed that the government wanted the girl’s body to be taken to the crematorium straight away. But the father insisted that she cannot be cremated before dawn, according to the Hindu belief. The body was taken to her house in Dwarka and kept there for a couple of hours, when local politicians visited. The so-called newshound TV channels were nowhere there. The girl was cremated in such security and secrecy that defied logic. What was the need for so much of concealment? No channel ran the story on how or why the government behaved in so inhuman a manner, denying even in death the girl the respect and homage she deserved. In the fifteen days since the incident, the faces of the perpetrators of the crime have not been shown.
Throughout the last fortnight, almost all the TV news channels (Delhi-centric) blacked out any other news. The coverage reached a point of saturation. Like in several other cases, the media converted itself into a platform and definitely tried to deflect the anger of the public. This was neither the first nor the last case of rape. But the media, like in the case of Arushi Talwar case converted into a news mela. But for all that, the visual media had nothing much of visuals to show. What is worse, like the monkey and cap story, one channel does it, then all follow, afraid of losing out on the TRP. What is dead in all this is professionalism. The poodle media let the government go scot-free.
The media completely ignored the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was on a 24-hour trip to India, with a single point agenda of signing a huge arms sale agreement. The large majority of Indians are unaware of the quantum of money involved which is running into $3 billion. In fact, the government is yet to make an official statement on it. The media has not questioned the government’s secrecy in this. In fact, there are rumours in the net that the government deliberately used the media to build up the crisis situation over the gruesome rape. For, the incident happened on 16th December night and the rage spilled over into the streets nearly a week later, systematically stoked by the TV channels. There is no questioning the sincerity of the protestors. But the government’s behaviour is definitely in the ring of suspicion.
Lost also in this chaos was the National Development Council meet, in which all the non-Congress chief ministers took the UPA government to task. Media is a powerful tool or a weapon. It depends on whose hands it is in. This time round, it was definitely in the hands of the most devious government India has ever seen.