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Politicos defaming Fourth Pillar of Democracy

All of us are aware about the rising attacks against journalists but now, even their family members are not being spared by culprits. In a shocking crime incident, Nagpur crime reporter Ravikant Kamble’s one and half year-old daughter Rashi and 60-year-old mother Usha S Kamble have been found murdered beside Sanjuba High school building, Sitabuldi in Nagpur. Both mother and daughter’s throats were slit and their bodies were packed in a sack and thrown in a gutter. The victims were missing since Saturday evening and police suspect that they might have been murdered after being kidnapped. Thus, today not only journalists but even their family members are not safe. This incident has occurred in Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s home town Nagpur. Even though Fadnavis is in charge of the Home Department but attacks on journalists continue to rise unabated.

Condemning the murder incident, Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi said that ever since the Modi government has come to power, attacks on journalists have increased. He said, “A person is termed as a terrorist if he refuses to chant Vande Mataram or if he speaks against the government. Such incidents pose a threat for democracy and it is unjustified. The government has framed laws to prevent attacks against journalists but it is not implemented effectively.”

Today it has become difficult for journalists to express their views freely in print and social media. Many of them are either trolled online or face death threats for publishing crime and political stories. Since 2015, as many as 142 attacks against journalists have been registered in the country, according to the latest data available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). As many as 70 journalists were killed in India between 1992 and 2016. Often accused continue to roam scot free after committing the crime. Since past decade, not a single journalist murder case has been solved by the police.

Political Journalist Nilesh Khare said that journalists residing in rural areas have to face several challenges. He said, “I have been working in the field of journalism since last 17 to 18 years and I have never faced such kind of situation in my life. Journalists residing in cities like Mumbai and Pune are safe as compared to their rural counterparts.”

Khare expressed his concern over criminals roaming scot free after murdering Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh. “Political fraternity is trying to malign the journalistic identity which raises questions against the former. After killing judiciary, bureaucracy, they now want to eliminate journalistic pillar — so nobody will question them and that is the motive behind this behaviour,” he added.

The manner in which attacks on journalists are rising, it is being termed as the most dangerous profession. Journalists have to undergo various risks while covering field stories. Often they are attacked by mob, harassed by police but many of them discharge their duties amicably despite facing risks. Even though the Maharashtra government has passed The Maharashtra Media Persons and Media Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property), Act, 2017 to curb attack on journalists but it is not implemented effectively.

Shiv Sena leader and Minister of state for Home, Deepak Kesarkar said that the government will call for a probe to ascertain the truth behind this murder incident. He said, “It’s sad that attack has taken place on journalist’s family members. The government has passed a special act to curb attack on journalists. Steps will be taken by the government to offer protection to families of journalists’ who are facing threats.”

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