|Bhushan and the goon (TOI pic)|
What was the TV channel doing while “goons” thrashed lawyer Prashant Bhushan at his chambers in the Supreme Court when he was being interviewed? The people at Times Now continued filming so that they could replay the images and their newspaper could have a front page with a pictorial strip and talk about how “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION TAKES A BATTERING”. (Note: In the photo above it is Bhushan who is grabbing his assailant's collar, so what is the channel/paper upto?)
Can you imagine how convenient it is for the media to claim to be upholders of freedom of expression? This is what happened for those who don’t know. Prashant Bhushan is one of the key members of Anna Hazare’s team. However, he apparently has talked about plebiscite in Kashmir and was therefore attacked. So goes the story.
A few facts:
- Certain sections of the media have propped up the Anna campaign without any thought about the consequences and made a hero of a febrile mind.
- Anna had initially expressed admiration for Modi; the Sangh Parivar was also quite happy with this crusade because it helped in the anti-Congress movement.
- Prashant Bhushan is not a Sanghi, and in fact the Sangh has issues with Anna now. Their own guy is on his yatra.
Times Now jumps in (or up) at the opportunity to convert corruption into communalism. Or at least make them walk in tandem. So, if Prashant Bhushan is essentially the guy who should be talking about the Jan Lokpal Bill, where does Kashmir azaadi fit in? For TRPs, it works. You manage to send careless whispers to some small Hindutva group like the Sri Ram Sene, the same ones that were gifted pink panties by ‘liberals’ on Valentine’s Day because they said it was against our culture. Waste of panties, but never mind.
So, what was all this about? Sheer timing. Mr. Bhushan was being interviewed by a channel that has supported the anti-corruption jamborees, but is not known to be supportive of Kashmir in any form. The tactic is to draw attention to the ‘azaadi’ aspect. It does not matter that it is one person’s views, a person who has nothing to do with Kashmir.
It polarises rather shrewdly by saying, look, we are calling these guys goons and discussing freedom of expression…would they do the same in Kashmir, take those stone pelters to task, those terrorists, those jihadis?
We have seen the main anchor here quake before Balasaheb Thackeray, so we know where they are coming from.
Bhushan has said, post the fisticuffs:
"This is an organisation which needs to be socially boycotted and perhaps banned by the government. Such an organisation has no right to exist legally. Sriram Sene is known for its goondaism and unprovoked assault on unarmed people. This is their trademark which they had showed in Bangalore when they beat up many boys and girls outside some restaurants and pubs. They have been known to beat up girls who wear skirts.”
Bingo! Where goes freedom of expression? This sort of thing happens in parts of Kashmir too by fringe elements. Is Prashant Bhushan going round in circles or is he getting trapped in one? Is someone pushing him unwittingly for a ban in J&K?
"They were shouting something about Kashmir but did not bother to discuss anything with me.”
What were they shouting? There are recordings. Or are the Times Now microphones of such bad quality? And why would they discuss anything with him when their purpose is obscure?
There is no way he should have been beaten, no way in which they ought to have managed to get into the chambers and no way others should have watched while it happened. The shameless TV guys should be arrested together with the Sri Ram Sene ones. Will they become witnesses and be able to recount what those guys were shouting against? How will they justify their standing around and not intervening?
“There should be legal proceedings but certainly not violence against the members of the organisation.”
There is physical violence and there is the violence of voyeurism. Bhushan is a victim of it as well as, I am afraid, a predator. If this is comparable to Hitler’s storm troopers, according to him, then Anna’s ‘peaceful’ drama was designed for a similar reaction. It is to incite people without any specific goal.
The Kashmir comment falls into this category. One does not have to reiterate that this is what the Kashmiris have been saying for years. Every part-time activist feels it necessary to whip this out as a trump card and take away from the genuine grievances of the people. The Kashmir issue is becoming top-heavy with every other ‘concerned’ person landing up there to get a slice of the action.
Team Anna should stick to what it is best at. Drink honeyed lime juice served by Dalit and Muslim children.