Monkeys are usually known to be intelligent creatures. That is, except when they’re hungry or greedy. In the old days they would trap a monkey with a cage containing a banana with a hole large enough for a monkey's hand to fit in, but not large enough for a monkey's fist (clutching the banana) to pull out. These were used to trap and catch monkeys that lack the intellect to let go of the banana. After the Delhi Gang-rape incident, there were monkeys trapped everywhere; some from the GOI, some from the Delhi govt and some from the Delhi Police. Nothing unusual about that, govts and police are often caught in monkey-traps of their own making. The Gang-rape, the protests and the death of Constable Subhash Tomar had everyone trapped. Some from the media were trapped in a different monkey-trap; Twitter and Social Media. They never learn! They never learn that Twitter and Social Media are made up of unforgiving people with REM. That’s Random Excess Memory. The monkey in the pic is probably asking a friend “Oh God, how do I pull out of this one”?
The media always expects people will forget but that doesn’t happen in social media. The monkeys keep making the same mistake. Before the current series of incidents over the Gang-rape we have had quite a few incidents this year. There was the Guwahati molestation case with some channels airing videos without blurring some images. There was the Assam riot and killings when Rajdeep Sardesai fell into the monkey trap of tyranny of distance, of deaths being lower than Gujarat and lack of OB vans. Rajdeep did apologise and, to his credit, both he and his channel have done a lot better in handling the present crises. Following that we had the Azad Maidan protests by secular and civilised people. And yes, we had the exodus of North-East people from Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The Bangalore exodus peaked, of all days, on Independence-Day. Fond memories, eh?
During the Bangalore exodus most of us relied on tweets from the ground, from the railway stations. The media, of course, didn’t have a clue what was going on. During that episode the Karnataka Home Minister even rushed to the station to pacify people who were fleeing out of fear unlike the present crisis where ministers were floating on media channels. So in steps our heroine to warn us all idiots. These two tweets from Barkha Dutt are Gyaan from the upper most peaks of the Himalayas. First she says “Think”! Think before you use words and don’t add to rumours. Ahem! You need to be “propah” at all times on your choice of words. Did you learn? In the next one she says “please do not add to the panic and rumours, let’s be assuring, calm and sane”. Did you get it? You see, nobody learns, least of all Barkha. Having dipped her hand in that crisis she went on a tweet-spree that night. She tweeted about Union Ministers calling the Karnataka CM, that there was no exodus, Assamese were going on vacation, that all that was rumour-mongering. Truth is she didn’t really appear to have any facts at all.
Facts? Did someone mention facts? Oops! Only a few people have a monopoly on facts. Don’t they? Barkha believes she is one of them. She doesn’t allow ‘imagination’ to interfere with her reporting or tweeting, does she? It’s a small matter, though, that her nonsense about “Lumpens among protesters” was demolished and her hypocrisy exposed in my earlier post. But following the discussion of lumpens, the next day there were indeed some lumpen elements deputed to the venue of protests. They managed to ignite violence, damage property and cause injuries. Nobody is in doubt which group these lumpens belonged to and which political party may have engaged them. It is after this round of violence (On December 24) that we heard about a Constable being killed in the violence.
Victory to GOI! Now that there was violence and somebody had been killed, the govt had the moral ground to state that the protests had been hijacked by political elements. Oh! Not just the govt, even NDTV headlined “Student protests hijacked by violence”. Who reported the constable first? Oh yeah! It was Barkha Dutt. She tweeted that a constable (Subhash Tomar) had died as a consequence of the violence. Fact? Fact-checked? Nope! So Barkha deletes that tweet and a while later tweets that the constable was critically injured and taken to hospital. Remember, she is careful in her choice of words; she is avoiding rumours and trying not to create panic and maintain sanity. Just like her Bangalore episode, right? Following her tweet, her channel also picks up her news-feed and keeps shouting “Cop critically injured” by protesters. Truth is: Not one media house or reporter, least of all Barkha, had any shred of evidence that the cop was injured by protesters. This is how the monkey traps itself. And having trapped itself it can’t let go of the banana. Read this post by SudhirKumar on the whole episode and these storified-tweets of media actors by BarbarIndian on the callous and unprofessional reporting by them.
On the morning of December 25, the constable, Subhash Tomar was reported dead around 6.30am. Suddenly, the govt announced a state funeral. Imagine death, post-mortem, organising police groups from protest sites can all be time consuming tasks. But hey, our govt and Delhi police are so hyper efficient they managed it all and by 4pm in the afternoon Subhash Tomar was cremated with full state honours. Believable? They just didn’t imagine someone else will turn up with a story. An eyewitness! Yogendra Tomar (in pic), a journalism student of BR Ambedkar College, who was also involved in protests but returning from a hospital saw Subhash Tomar collapsing. So he and another injured protester (returning from head injury treatment), Paolin, helped the constable and tried to revive him. Two other cops were with them. By evening on Dec.25, after Subhash was cremated, Yogendra was on many TV channels, including NDTV-Hindi, giving his version of events. He confirmed nobody attacked Subhash and he collapsed while running. The lady who was helping, Paolin, confirmed his story. Now take a look at this picture (The video is also available on Youtube):
What do you see? We can see Subhash lying on the ground, two cops and the two eye-witnesses trying to help revive him. The cop’s shoe has been removed. There’s a bystander in the left pic. Clear enough! Now, observe closely. There’s some smoke (probably tear gas) about an estimated 300 metres from this group. That seems to be some conflict in progress. But look around Subhash and the group. Does it look like it was a conflict zone? There are no broken items like bangles, watches or spectacles. There are no visible drops of blood anywhere. No pools of water or plastic water bottles. There are no stones or rocks around the cop. There are no shoes or slippers strewn around like you would find in a conflict zone. No blunt objects (with which the media claims Subhash was attacked with). No tear gas shells. There’s nothing! Even the Youtube video I mentioned above only shows some mild debris strewn around. Some may be regular stuff on the streets that you find and some may be from a minor clash at the most. Paolin also told CNN-IBN that when the shirt of Subhash was opened there were no injuries on his chest but it was full of sweat. Cold sweat?
Therefore the theory that Subhash fell after being attacked seems pretty dubious. And there is no evidence whatsoever anywhere to indicate it. Also, the body movement, the slouching or falling head of Subhash has not been explained anywhere convincingly. However, during the course of the day on December 26, it did not stop Barkha Dutt from her tweet-spree trying to link the death of Subhash Tomar to various unrelated issues, even in Kashmir to cloud the issue. NDTV and other channels continued to maintain he had died due to injuries sustained on the field. The hospital where Subhash was taken does not mention any external injuries. It is quite amazing that in an attack in a conflict with a mob, a person suffering injuries leading to death can completely escape any external injury. But even without the post-mortem report the police spokesman mentioned yesterday morning that Subhash had chest, stomach and neck injuries and then stated he could make comments only after a post-mortem report. All these conflicting reports only indicate either a massive bungling or a massive cover-up. Last evening, not a single caller on Times Now believed the story dished out by the media or the govt.
For someone who sermonises from the Himalayas, Barkha herself started this whole nonsense of speculation over Subhash Tomar. Her channel then continued to tom-tom the story that Subhash died as a consequence of injuries. They neither had any evidence nor any convincing report to rely on. Barkha didn’t have any fact-checking done either when she tweeted the cop was killed (and she claims few people have the guts for facts only). Or was it that he had already died on the streets when she tweeted? Did her reporter tell her that? Barkha, as is her political persuasion, doesn’t fail to point a finger at the Right Wing over the post-mortem report in her series of tweets. And after all her speculation through tweets she states she won’t tweet anymore about Tomar. Haha! Bravo! Is there anything that she had still left ‘untweeted’?
In all of this what one misses to observe is that collectively, NDTV and similar channels have more or less given a clean-chit to Sheila Dikshit and the Congress for events that happened in Delhi and the crimes that have made it a rape-capital. It’s almost as if Sheila Dikshit is an angel who is now a victim who is complaining like everyone else. It should be clear on hindsight that the media monkey that dipped its hand into the cage got stuck with the banana. Their lies and spins stand exposed once again. Only thing left untweeted is “Mission Accomplished”! Someone led them to that trap and you can guess who. In the meantime, with all the noise about Subhash Tomar, that 23-year old Gang-rape victim has been reduced to another comma in the story.