Ranjona Banerji: Claiming credit for the exposes

11 Oct,2012

By Ranjona Banerji

 

Arnab Goswami was in fine form on Wednesday night and I’m being sincere here, not snarky. He took on two subjects and did not allow any waffling or humbug from his contestants, sorry, studio guests. The first subject was the planned martyrs memorial in the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the honours given to the families of killers of former army chief General AS Vaidya. The revival of the Khalistani movement in Punjab – or at least the apparently tacit support given to Khalistani terrorists by the current SAD-BJP government is back in focus especially after the attack on former Lt General KS Brar in London.

 

Goswami went to the heart of the issue: was SAD reluctant to take on terrorist-sympathisers and did it find nothing reprehensible in honouring killers? Kiranjot Kaur, of the SGPC tried every trick the book to deflect the issue of sympathy for the Khalistani movement in spite of sufficient evidence to the contrary from hurt sentiments after Operation Blue Star to “you don’t understand the history” and presenting a garbled version of her own. Manjit Singh of the Akali Dal would not answer questions about how weapons landed up within the Golden Temple. The army representatives were furious about Vaidya’s killers being honoured and the proposed memorial for Khalistani terrorists – retired brigadier V Mahalingam was particularly scathing.

 

This debate was not just vital because it gave space to the Khalistani problem but also because Goswami did not allow his guests to run away from the topic towards their own agendas. I would have liked however someone to take on Harsimrat Kaur Badal, daughter in law of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and MP from Bathinda, for her comment that the Congress should concentrate on “their government and their country”. I personally find this a deeply offensive remark and think it needs further exploration; at the very least what Badal considers to be her country.

 

This attitude continued in the next debate on the growing incidence of rape in Haryana, especially in the light of former chief minister Om Prakash Chauthala’s endorsement of the khap panchayat suggestion that girls get married early to prevent rapes. Goswami, who has always taken a strong feminist stance, did not allow any obfuscation of this issue either from the men on the panel and the politicians of Haryana. All credit.

 

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Rahul Kanwal of Headlines Today claimed that the channel had done a long investigation into the Zakir Husain Trust run by Union law minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise Fernandes and found many discrepancies. However, Arvind Kejriwal also claimed credit for exposing the trust. Am confused.

 

For instance, so far with the irrigation scam in Maharashtra, the Times of India, CNN-IBN, Anjali Damania, Kirit Somaiya and now Sreenivasan Jain of NDTV have all claimed that they exposed it. Whodunit?

 

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Thursday morning’s newspapers were a great disappointment, after all the excitement on TV the night before. They were bland and boring and paid lip service to the big issues. The prime minister’s anodyne plan to fix corruption got the most play.

 

The Times of India was most disappointing of all, as it played into the hands of an advertiser and not only restricted the size of its newspaper but also printed the entire paper except the opening double spread in single sheets. This was so it could have 16 pages with the notes from the musical scale on each page (Sa re ga ma and so on). Exactly what this had to do with a new Nissan car I have no clue. Perhaps the car does something really annoying like sing to you?

 

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