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Dirty Game

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The opposition parties, particularly those of the Left and the Congress, accuse the BJP of misusing government agencies for its political objectives. The likes of P Chidambaram have claimed that the cases against them are politically motivated, even though the courts have prima facie accepted the charges. The most recent to allege that notices sent to him and his family members by the IT Department are ‘motivated’ is Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Unfortunately, as is being seen in the Arnab Goswami case, these parties do not hesitate to do the same when themselves in power. In some non-BJP ruled states like West Bengal and Kerala, it is an everyday affair.

People are asking why the BJP is not intervening on Arnab’s behalf, as he is largely in the present soup for being so strongly in its camp. Even though leaders such as Home Minister Amit Shah have condemned the ill-treatment and blatant targeting of the Republic TV Editor, there is good reason for the party to allow the drama to continue. This is because it reveals the hypocrisy of the opposition’s charges. Also noteworthy is the deafening silence of the many civil rights defenders who shed such copious tears for the incarcerated naxalites and Pak inspired terrorists. The failure of most journalists, too, to stand up for Goswami is quite shameful, although it might be explained, partly, by the professional rivalries of news companies. Corporate owners care little for the well-being of journalists, whom they consider just employees, and look askance at any kind of cross-banner unity.

Goswami is making the most out of this victimhood in the expectation that viewership of his channel will go up and he might even become some kind of a human rights icon. The Mumbai Police, which is attempting to intimidate him by burying him in cases, is playing into his hands. In the case of the common person, such bullying tactics usually work, particularly in states where there is a militant cadre of the ruling party to back them up, such as the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and the TMC in West Bengal. As a result, the police force loses its perspective and professionalism, overdoing it sometimes and getting ink on its face. The nexus between the force and various local mafias is nationwide. There have been attempts at reform, but these have been mostly half-hearted as the political bosses are soon made to understand the advantages in ‘cooperating’ for mutual benefit. Any solution, when it comes, will require above all a much smarter judiciary that can see through the game on behalf of the common people.