Let’s look beyond Kasab!

23 Nov,2011

By Ranjona Banerji

 

Newspapers in Mumbai this week will be full of articles and opinions about 26/11 this week as it’s been three years since terrorists ran amuck all over Mumbai in November 2008, killing and maiming. I have to confess that I have done it as well with my column in Mid-Day. However, I cannot quite understand why there is so much focus on the money spent on Ajmal Kasab, the sole terrorist who was caught. Kasab has been sentenced to death and is awaiting a Supreme Court appeal. Most of the money, as the newspapers tell us, has been spent on securing Arthur Road jail which surely should have already been done considering the number of terrorists and underworld characters who live there. In which case, the story should be: why was Arthur Road jail not secure enough to house one terrorist?

 

The big stories for me out of 26/11 start with the shoddy investigation into whoever helped the terrorists on the ground – considering the two put forward by the police were acquitted? After all, convicting Kasab was inevitable, given the evidence against him and he is now within the judicial process on his way to the gallows. But what about those of us who are still alive – what has been done to secure Mumbai since? What about all the promises about equipment for the police? Is there enough electronic surveillance? Where are the boats which the Coast Guard can actually use?
Hopefully, our newspapers will give us more and get out of this Kasab focus.

 

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It is good to see Indian TV getting interested in the renewed revolution in Cairo. Suddenly, it’s been headlined on a few channels after the Arab Spring was ignored for weeks in India as if a Bollywood-cricket-faff-filled Indian brain could never be interested in anything else.

 

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Is it good journalism or bad that the birth of Aishwariya and Abhishek Bachchan’s first baby was treated with kid gloves? I would have thought that in these hard-boiled, in-your-face paparazzi times, good manners would have been thrown out of the window. Even worse, everyone just fell in with Amitabh Bachchan’s requests? Come on, this is not the way a free, independent media behave. Whoever said that we had to be polite and non-intrusive?

 

It is true that I care a hoot about this child (I think it’s been born because I saw a picture of Amitabh carrying it out of hospital) but the rest of the country surely wanted to know? Who does the media owe first loyalty to? Readers and viewers, surely!

 

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Those interested in the run up to the US presidential election should try and catch the debates between the Republican Party hopefuls on CNN. It actually makes for compelling and amusing viewing as candidates rip into each other or trip up. Nothing like watching a politician looking bad – whichever country he or she belongs to!

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