Ranjona Banerji:Is my life in danger,Ravish Kumar asks PM

29 Sep,2017

By Ranjona Banerji

 

Ravish Kumar, the popular, thoughtful and to the point news anchor of NDTV India, has long been the target of trolls and assorted BJP fans for his fearless view of journalism. He was forced to disengage from Twitter by the constant assaults. Now an expose by AltNews, which has tied up with The Wire, proves that Kumar is being harangued and threatened on Whatsapp groups, to which he is forcibly added no matter how many times he tries to leave them. And as has now become expected, those who threaten him are all either members of the RSS and BJP or the larger Sangh Parivar and are usually followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter.

Kumar has written an open letter to Modi, published by The Wire, which is in his signature style: speak softly and carry a big stick. Headlined, ‘Is my life in danger’, he asks: “I also feel bad and sorry about the foul language used for you on the social media platforms. But here the case is about the people from your side, who are threatening a journalist like me. Whenever I tried to leave the WhatsApp group, people in the group used to say that catch him, he is running away, beat him and again add me into the group. I can’t share the sample of their language over here because I know I am writing a letter to the prime minister of India. It is my obligation and duty to regard you even in my strongest criticism…

“Now, I would like to ask if you really follow Neeraj Dave and Nikhil Dadhich? Why? Few days back, I had shared the screenshot of their WhatsApp group on my Facebook page @RavishKaPage. The investigation of Prateek Sinha and Neelesh Purohit of AltNews.in shows that Neeraj Dave is a resident of Rajkot and is the managing director of an export company. You follow Neeraj Dave. When I asked him to not use such abusive language he replied that he is sad that I am alive.”

Of course, it is highly unlikely that Modi will respond. It is highly likely that someone from the BJP will provide some cock and bull explanation which blames Kumar for being threatened by BJP fans and members.

‘Is My Life in Danger?’ Ravish Kumar Writes Open Letter to PM Narendra Modi

 

 

 

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As the economy continues its miserable journey to the bottom, expect the rightwing to get more vicious. Look at the reactions to BJP member and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha speaking out about the economy in The Indian Express. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that he did not have the luxury of writing columns (unlike Sinha) and also that Sinha was hankering for a job (at the age of 79!). Admittedly, Jaitley was Sinha’s main target but why should a Union minister not show a little dignity?

Meanwhile, The Times of India happily decided to play His Master’s Voice and carried a piece by Yashwant Sinha’s son Jayant Sinha, civil aviation minister, defending the economy and opposing his father. Although I find the reporting and coverage of local events in my edition of The Times of India superior to other newspapers, its edit page is by far the worst of all newspapers in India. It provides neither insight nor analysis and often operates as a government mouthpiece. Incidentally, Sinha Junior was recently removed from the finance ministry – something which Sinha Senior was quick to point out.

Most news channels took a break from chasing Honeypreet Singh, trying to foment Hindu-Muslim riots and attempting to start a war with Pakistan, to interview Sinha senior. Of all of them, Nidhi Razdan’s interview with Yashwant Sinha, on NDTV, was by far the best constructed with the most pointed questions.

 

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Interesting to note that the Prime Minister’s great “power to the poor” scheme has not dominated the news cycle as the BJP may have hoped. In fact, newspapers everyday now explain the reality of a scheme which has existed for years.

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Veteran journalist Vidyadhar Date has written a moving tribute to the late Arun Sadhu, whose life and career should provide a fine example to today’s journalists:https://thewire.in/181711/arun-sadhu-journalist-obituary/

 

Ranjona Banerji is a senior journalist and commentator. She is also Consulting Editor, MxMIndia. The views here are personal

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