‘The Death of Jagendra Singh’- Where is the agitation?


‘The Death of Jagendra Singh’- Where is the agitation?

Articles / Society & Culture   /   Jun 20, 2015
samreen Jawaid
samreen Jawaid
She is a writer. She has done post-graduation in Lingustic from JNU. She likes writing news stories, blogs and articles. She also likes to analyze political and international events and write stories on them. She wishes to bring a change to the lives of women by attracting the attention of leaders as well as society at large through her articles. Truth is what she stands for.

Jagendra Singh, a freelance journalist working in Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh was allegedly beaten up by the police at his home and later doused in Kerosene and was burnt alive on June 1. He succumbed to his injuries on June 8 leaving his statement as a proof against the grim aftermath of speaking against the rich and the powerful. 

Singh who was writing against the Samajvadi Party’s minister, Ram Murti Verma, was undeterred in his pursuit to bring out stories which otherwise stay hidden, embroiled in controversy, subject to deliberate manipulation and often missing from the mainstream media. In a way, his was an endeavor to compel the system and the authorities to provide solutions for the things which otherwise nobody bothers about.

This also gives us a chance to mull over what might be happening in so many similar places which do not get enough exposure or are not judged worthy to find a place in the mainstream media.  

Singh mainly used to write on Facebook. In his post earlier this month, he accused Ram Murti of land grabbing, corruption charges, illegal mining and his involvement in the gang rape of a nursery worker. The journalist has also mentioned in one of his Facebook posts that he fears his life from the Minister.

Before dying, Singh has given his statement to the officer Amitabh Thakur, in which he is seen asking, “Why did they have to burn me? If the ministers and his men had any grudge against me, they could have just beaten me up instead burning me.” He also states that his foot had been broken earlier by the minister’s henchmen on April 28.

The testimony of the victim recorded in the video gives a blatant account of how this nexus of police and politicians operate. Besides the fact that Singh’s statement is everywhere, the police are still saying that Singh has committed suicide and have subsequently filed an FIR against the journalist for self-immolation. According to the police, Singh has killed himself after the police raided his residence. However, such a move by the police only further corrodes the democratic structure of the country and takes away even the last iota of faith that until now lied with the Police, an organization institutionalized for the protection of the citizens.

Singh’s family has sat on a sit-in protest demanding a CBI enquiry in the matter. But, the Uttar Pradesh government as it seems is not keen on looking into the case. Moreover, ministers like Shivpal Yadav have issued a statement that the accused minister will not be sacked without an enquiry into the matter. Had there been no tangible proof against the minister, the public would have entertained such a statement. However, the fact that Singh’s statement accusing the minister of getting him killed is recorded on video is a sheer slap on the entire judicial and political system.
The government is not clear if there is any special team which has been accorded the task to look into the matter. If any enquiry will be done, there are chances for it to be manipulated as is clear from the very fact that the police had the courage to go ahead and kill a person in cold blood without any thought of repercussion.  

Why Ram Murti chose to kill Singh is also a matter of concern. Being in power, he obviously had other means to deal with the journalist. But the fact that they go ahead and kill Singh in cold blood is again a showcase of money and power. It also reinforces the fact that whatever Singh wrote on his Facebook page, Shahjahanpur Samachar was true. Otherwise, the minister should have remained undeterred. Moreover, the fact that they burned the journalist with impunity establishes that the country is still governed by Jungle Raj. 

Moreover, just after Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav met Governor Ram Naik on Thursday, the sole witness in the case did a U-turn and it is most likely that the minister and the Police will be given a clean chit.  

Where does this leave us?
The death of Jagendra Singh reasserts the fact that a common man in India can only be a moot witness to rampant corruption, violence and crime and he should not have the courage to raise his voice against the administration, police or politician. However, this is not the first time that we have encountered such a brutality in the hands of police, politician and the administration. We cannot and must not look at this incident in isolation. There, in fact, have been many such incidents happening all across the country without our being aware of them. For instance, in Uttar Pradesh alone, many journalists have been killed during previous years. 

According to an article published in News Laundry, Pradip Shukla, the then bureau chief of Dainik Jagran was gunned down in 2005. In 2007, Santosh Srivastave, a freelance journalist had been killed in cold blood. Two years later, in 2009, Suresh Sharma, a reporter employed with a local daily was murdered. Taking the recent case where a Dainik Jagran’s reporter's throat was slit right outside the newspaper’s office. 

Despite all this, the irony is that such a blatant misuse of law and order doesn't lead to any political consequence. As the case goes, the mainstream media is always silent on issues like this. It seems that our esteemed journalists and reporters are not capable of anything but creating catchy headlines or making noise on the TV set without any consequences. What about the public? Where is the agitation?
The fact that the public is blind, mute and also powerless provides an excuse to all political parties to champion public's cause. This has a negative consequence - every issue social, economic, criminal, or otherwise which the public should be concerned, worried and agitated about is hijacked by these political parties  in the garb of providing a leadership to the movement but sending the whole issue to a political stalemate and the proverbial dhanda basta. 

Nothing is to change in this country unless all corruption, crime, and misgovernance start having political consequences. The fear of facing the wrath of political masters, that is the voters, should be so great that all politicians irrespective of their vote banks should know that the public would not only politically outcast them and reject them, but the judicial system and the bureaucracy would be compelled to look into the administrative failures and lapses of the leaders because of the public opinion. 

The fact is that this kind of collective voice which might deter the leaders can only come from their voters. None other than the voter is the master of the leaders. The collective voice of the voter in the constituency is the only voice which the leaders of that constituency will fear. 

Let us face it. Till the time people do not realise their collective strength in making every politician pay for their wrongs, citizens like Jagendra Singh will be burnt alive. We have to come up and raise our voice against all the injustices. We must realize that perhaps this is our last chance to start a movement and become scrupulously autonomous in deciding our fate. 


The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi. The views expressed here are those of the authors and doesn’t reflect the official policy of Janpratinidhi.
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