Monday, October 6, 2008

Why is Sheila Dikshit’s statement dangerous than Saumya’s murder?

A girl in her early twenties came to me and directed a question. She asked, “How can the police-judiciary- govt., imprison someone for 12 years without any crime?” I replied, “Exactly, that’s impossible”. On this she innocently said, “Then what’s the Govt. for?” I said, “The question is not about the existence of the Government. The new circumstances question the existence of the Govt. If there is govt., problems will prop up. Conditions can be worse. We live in Delhi and work here, hence cannot estimate that the very existence of the govt. is dangerous. “Sorry sir, but I don’t think like this. I think that govt. is synonymous to security. It’s a system without which nothing is possible. Everyone should think like this. Congrats for the Goenka Award. I’m in Headlines Today. I’m Saumya Vishwanathan”, she said.

It was 18th April, 2005, 9 P.M. then. I was preparing for ‘Dastak’ which was aired on “Aajtak”. Under TADA, several tribal people from Vidarbha were imprisoned for years and I reported the case, for which I was awarded the Indian Express Award. Out of them, one tribal spent 12 years in jail. And only after the report was shown, the Judiciary and the Human Right Commission decided to free him.

Coincidentally, on 18th April 2005, that tribal man was present on that occasion. He was the same man about whom Saumya had talked once. That was the first conversation I had with her. Generally, anyone from Headlines Today had never talked to Aajtak people about any news. Hence, it was surprising for me. I even mentioned this to the head of Headlines Today, Mr. Shrinivasan, congratulating him for the same.

This conversation came to my mind like a shock on the 30th of Sept when Harpal messaged me early morning… “Just got a call from Rashmi, Saumya Vishwanathan passed away last night after a car accident…her cremation will take place at 3 P.M. at Lodhi crematorium”. It was unbelievable because her picture was right there in my mind saying that no one could ever kill her age, her understanding, her inner conflict and her simplicity.

I still remember that on the 19th of April 2005, Saumya came back to me and said, “Sir, I hope you are not angry with what I said yesterday. I think it’s the system that’s running everything. We can’t avoid it”. I thought that let alone making someone angry, this girl can’t even think of making someone feel sad. I even thought that the way things are going on in our country and the way journalism is taking shape; how being emotional is justified.

Amidst all this when in the evening I got to know about Saumya’s death which was not an accident but a murder; everything from her simplicity to her reason of death came to my mind. The reason behind her death seems unthinkable. May be she was provoked by the killers. However, between all this, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s statement has raised some questions. Sheila Dikshit didn’t even think once before saying that Saumya was just being adventurous at night. Does that mean, a woman should be ready to face any unfortunate circumstances at night and if something wrong happens, the Govt. wouldn’t be responsible for that? Or that the Govt. is unable to provide any protection to the women and that the women should be ready for anything like rape, shooting or whatever?

Since the time when Saumya first stepped into the outside world, Delhi has been under Sheila Dikshit. So why Saumya didn’t learn what Sheila Dikshit wanted to her to learn? When Delhi was facing sealing and the shops on the Gurgaon’s fashion street were being demolished; the women designers were crying and Saumya was emotional. Harpal from Headlines Today told me that the girls were emotional on this issue but still supporting the Govt. for its step.
Everyone wants to see Delhi as Delhi. Saumya believed in the system which she questioned, when the man was jailed for 12 years. She believed that the system hasn’t finished yet and that the youth still believes in it. However, Saumya’s death has raised a question that the world inside the news channels and the world outside are different. And the dream of a developed nation that the younger generation is foreseeing can lead to ones death; that’s apparent. In a country, a friction has always been there in politics or in society only because of the dreams of a particular section.

To call for justice for Saumya there was a meet of journalists and her friends in the press club. A friend of her told that now no one has the courage to sit where Saumya used to sit before. That’s when I thought that the conflict between the two societies which are trying to strive in a single society will arise when the faith shatters. And if, the youngsters lose their faith in the system, the darkness will be darker than ever before.

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