Bharat mata ki jai and all that

Clip from the Newsroom program now on India Today TV:

And here, Kiran Bedi explains that the cops who stood by and watched were “being prudent”:

So now you know — when police stand by and watch as crime happens, it is only prudence, see?

Speak loudly and carry a big stick

The agitating Jats in Haryana set up blockades. They set buses and motorbikes ablaze, ransacked a parliamentarian’s house, attacked police chowkis, and took control of a water canal supplying 3/5 of Delhi’s water. At least a dozen people died. All this to make that most national of demands — more quotas. Rajnath Singh, the home minister, the man who threatened the “strongest possible action” against students shouting slogans at JNU, has also responded to the Jat agitation with alacrity. He has met with Jat leaders. He has declared a bill would be moved soon in the Haryana Assembly so Jats can get Other Backward Class status. He has formed a committee. He has appealed for peace and calm.

The Indian state has made it amply clear. It listens to the mob. Speak loudly AND carry a big stick and the home minister will meet you more than halfway. Merely chant slogans loudly and you can be charged with sedition, videos of your speeches doctored and played on prime time television, and you can be beaten up by lawyers in a courthouse.

That is how Sandip Roy leads into a piece comparing the Modi government’s handling of two contemporary flashpoints. Read.

Also — what you say on Twitter and what you don’t is no real index of what your priorities are. But this is a party that, during the run-up to the 2014 elections, was constantly questioning the then government on its silence on various issues.

From that perspective, Rajnath Singh’s Twitter stream is revelatory. Much sound and fury on JNU:

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Some gentle cooing on the Jat riots:

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And not a yip about Pampore — where actual terrorists actually attacked a government building on Indian soil.

Manufacturing news

Vishwa Deepak, the Zee News whistle-blower who quit in protest at how the channel had doctored videos to support its Umar Khalid/Kanhaiya Kumar narrative, has some insight into how “news” is made.

“On February 10, I was on the morning shift, which comprised a shift head, two second shift heads, three or four producers of which I was one, two or three package producers, and two or three video editors,” said Deepak.

“At the editorial meet that afternoon, a producer was given the video footage and told to work on it because it was a ‘big story’. The producer brought the video to me and I watched it and heard it. The video was grainy and there was a lot of sloganeering but most of which was not clearly audible. I heard ‘Bhartiya Court Zindabad’,” he said.

According to Deepak, the producer showed the video to other “responsible” colleagues but none were able to clearly make out the words being chanted.

“Then our editors came down to our section and told us it was a big story, it had to go on air and that ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ could be heard. So we all agreed because the editors and other colleagues felt it was ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ that was being chanted. We began to produce the show and because the audio was not clear, we added a bubble or blurb with ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ written in it to guide our viewers on what we felt was being chanted,” said Deepak.

And then, of course, Bhim Bhassi’s Delhi police went straight to Zee for “evidence” to support its FIR — despite having three of its own personnel on the premises at the event as official eyewitnesses.

But the police case or FIR, filed on February 11, two days after the JNU rally- bases the sedition charge -punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment- on footage of the demonstration that was aired on Zee News. This provokes questions because the police had actually deputed three constables in civil clothes to attend the rally prompted by a message from JNU officials which said the event was designed to question the hanging of Afzal Guru three years ago for his role in the attack on Parliament in 2001.

The FIR states: “HC Rambir No. 2923/SD, CT Karmbir No. 1664/SD, CT Dharmbir No. 3846/SD were sent in civil dress to the Sabarmati Dhaba ( the location of the event) and were briefed accordingly.”

Though the policemen watched the event first-hand, the FIR makes no reference to any observations by them about Mr Kumar.

Now this is criminal

I could forgive the JNU students for eating beef and worshipping Mahishasur. But this is too much. Really.

That’s a BJP party member and elected legislator speaking. Makes you wonder if taking out the trash is his day job.

(In passing, I like that JNU is health conscious — less chips than condoms, for instance. I mean, junk food is a killer. I’m not so enamoured of the fact that despite all those 3000 condoms, 300 abortions are needed).

Just routine…

Several newspapers have reported that Delhi police has been calling or visiting the homes of journalists who have reported on the police crackdown at Jawaharlal Nehru University. TheIndian Express reported that nearly 50 people including journalists and professors have been questioned in the last 10 days.

Intimidation disguised as investigation.

Rajendra Singh of the Delhi police’s Special Task Force, who is leading the investigation in the JNU case, defended the police action. He said that the police had obtained “contacts lists of Umar and other wanted persons”. Those on the lists had been “approached to find out under what circumstances they have contacted the students”.

“We did not segregate journalists from other persons,” he added. “If he is reporter, and doing his duty, that is alright. If there is something more, then we have to question.”

He added: “After lookout notice has been issued, if you are contacting that person, it is our duty to check.”

Fair enough. Umar Khalid is accused of anti-national activities, there is a lookout notice for him, the police must explore all possible leads…

At the time of writing this, though, Umar Khalid’s whereabouts — the campus of JNU — is a matter of public knowledge. Has been, for 24 hours now and counting. How come — since the person concerned is so desperately wanted by the police — no cop has shown any inclination to arrest him?

Update: Apparently the police are waiting on the VC’s permission. Fair enough. The WTF element here? This:

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi has said if the students are innocent, they should assist the police’s ongoing investigation and provide proof of their innocence.

I thought jurisprudence works the other way — the police file charges and prove your guilt? Apparently not — in the Alice in Blunderland world of Bassi, the burden of proof is on the citizen. And this, from a police commissioner who from day one has been insisting he has all the proof he needs.


Such wit!

I was going to go with “classy” as headline, but Anupam Kher had first dibs. So I’ll make ‘classy’ an occasional series — god knows there is no dearth of material. Like, so:

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